The Reality Of Reality Television Essay

The Reality Of Reality Television Essay

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Reality television has been a popular means of entertainment for viewers, and an economic investment for television networks since MTV aired their hit reality show The Real World, back in 1992. Although unscripted television existed as early as the late 1940s, reality television really began to thrive in the 90s. Since then, numerous versions of reality television shows have emerged. Reality television includes a variety of programs, each belonging to a different branch of reality. Within those branches are: documentary style shows, which includes shows about special living environments (Jersey Shore), shows about celebrities (Keeping up with the Kardashians), and shows about professional activities (Cops); game shows, which includes dating competition shows (The Bachelor), job search shows (America’s Next Top Model), and sports shows (The Ultimate Fighter); self-improvement shows (The Biggest Loser), social experiment shows (The Bad Girls Club); renovation shows (Love It or List It); dating shows (Next); talk shows (Maury); hidden camera shows (Punk’d); supernatural shows (Long Island Medium); and hoax shows (Hell Date). Documentary style reality shows have become arguable the most successful and most watched shows out of the bunch. Some critics of this specific type of programming argue that the programs have grown to lack originality, and that its popularity will come to an end soon. However, one thing that is apparent is that they are profitable for both the networks, and the participants involved.
One ongoing concern about the documentary style of reality programming is that the shows are inevitably repetitive in nature and are often easily mimicked by competing networks. For instance, when watching the hit show Keeping Up w...


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...o our new favorite words and phrases. It has become such a fad that many millennials have picked up the habit of recording themselves through social media platforms such as YouTube, SnapChat, Twitter, and Vine, and have become online celebrities because of it. “Reality should not be excluded from this golden age of television, because it contributes plenty of gold to the equation, and there’s art and magic to producing these shows.” [WE Tv President] There is good scripted and bad scripted, and good reality and bad reality, and success in either format depends on common themes and attributes that do one thing really well – they resonate with viewers. No one says, “I’m going home to tonight to watch some scripted television.” They say they are going home to watch their favorite shows, and – for millions of people – those shows fall into the category called reality TV.

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