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Backgrounder: reality television

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Adam L.
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  1. History.
  2. Current situation.
  3. Types of reality television programs.
    1. Documentary style.
    2. Celebrity reality.
    3. Elimination/game shows.
    4. Self improvement/makeover shows.
  4. Reality television expenses v. network drama program expenses.
  5. Problems with reality television.
  6. Conclusion.

Reality programs have been part of television since the beginning and have grown steadily among viewers over the years to make itself one of the most viewed types of shows on the air today. With the huge success of reality shows like American Idol, Survivor, The Real World, The Bachelor and others, it is of no surprise that reality television remains one of the most popular types of program genres to this day.

[...] With the huge success of reality shows like American Idol, Survivor, The Real World, The Bachelor and others, it is of no surprise that reality television remains one of the most popular types of program genres to this day. Current Situation: Steve Reiss and James Wiltz of Psychology Today said, ?even if you don't watch reality television, it's becoming increasingly hard to avoid. The salacious Temptation Island was featured on the cover of People Magazine. Big Brother aired five days a week and could be viewed on the web 24 hours a day, and the Survivor finale dominated the front page of the New York Post after gaining ratings that rivaled those of the Super Bowl[8].? Reality TV remains popular and has even increased ratings for cable networks with VH1's Flavor of Love drawing in six million viewers to its finale in 2006, which was the highest rated show in the network's history. [...]


[...] VH1 coined the term for these programs as ?celebreality.? Types of Reality Television programs: The ever growing popularity of reality TV has led to various types that include: documentary style, special living environment, celebrity reality, professional activities, elimination/game shows, dating competitions, job searches, self improvement/makeovers, sports, dating shows, hidden cameras, talk shows and hoaxes[10]. Documentary style involves real-life locations and is unscripted; an example is MTV's Laguna Beach. Special living environment style involves placing characters in artificial living environments like that of MTV's The Real World. [...]


[...] Reality TV continues to be seen by television analysts as an example of the ?vast wasteland? that Minnow described but American viewers show their interest with large ratings. Conclusion: Reality television has been around since its debut with Candid Camera in 1948 and has steadily gained popularity since. Although the style and direction of the genre's programming have changed from the original, it continues to bring viewers in and gain loyal audiences for some shows. Reality TV consists of various types of shows that are much cheaper to produce than scripted dramas. [...]

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