What Makes Reality Tv So Special In Todays Society?
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Article Title: What Makes Reality Tv So Special In Today's
Author: Amy Nutt
Word Count: 607
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When Survivor appeared on CBS for the first time, it quickly
became a topic of conversation around water coolers everywhere.
Even people who didn't watch the show couldn't escape
conversations about which castaway would be voted off the island
next. Today, there are dozens of reality shows that offer to
turn everyday people into chefs, actors, singing stars, brides
or grooms, millionaires, and almost anything else you can
And while people make the obligatory negative remarks about
reality TV, many harbor secret addictions to one show or
another. What makes reality TV so popular? There are probably
First, reality TV participants come from all walks of life.
Whether you're gay or straight, male or female, Christian or
Buddhist, Black or white, it is easy to turn on reality TV and
spot someone like yourself whisked away into an adventurous or
luxurious lifestyle. We experience a vicarious thrill seeing
ordinary people like us compete for fabulous prizes. And, if you
are being absolutely honest, you have to admit that you've
sometimes thought, "I could do that!"
Another reason people enjoy reality TV is the suspense. On most
shows, each episode finds another participant being eliminated
until there is only one player left standing. We agonize with
our favorite players as they endure challenges and hardships,
hold our breaths when it looks like they may be on the chopping
block, and breathe a sigh of relief when they squeak by for one
Watching reality TV also gives us an avenue to communicate with
acquaintances and co-workers. As the second season of American
Idol drew to a close, for instance, you could start a
conversation with a complete stranger simply by asking, "So, is
it going to be Clay or Ruben?"
Still another reason reality TV is popular may have to do with
certain socioeconomic factors. With so many people in debt, the
cost of living consistently outstripping people's paychecks,
relatively high unemployment, and wars being fought in Iraq and
Afghanistan, reality TV gives people something less threatening
to focus on. It may even help people feel better about their own
lives. "I may have it bad," some viewers think, "but at least
I'm not wearing filthy clothes and eating insects." Or, "I may
have had a bad day of work, but at least the entire viewing
public isn't watching Simon Cowell blast my singing voice."
Finally, reality TV initially had a strong viewing because it
was something unique. Audiences in the United States were used
to watching television actors deliver scripted lineswe were
completely unprepared for a show without a script featuring real
people engaged in real competition. The real live cat fights,
backbiting, and scheming delighted wide eyed viewers.
Of course, from the beginning there were a few dissenting
voices claiming that reality TV was somewhat less than real.
Furthermore, familiarity has begun to breed contempt. The second
installment of Survivor, for instance, was the most watched
series of the 2000-2001 TV series. Survivor China, the fifteenth
installment in the Survivor series, is ranked number eleven
among the current fall lineup. Other reality TV shows have seen
similar rating drops as their novelty faded.
But even if reality TV is no longer quite as robust as it once
was, it is far from dead. New reality TV concepts are pitched
every season, and millions of fans continue to tune in to watch
their favorite reality programs. For all the reasons discussed
above, reality TV is definitely here to stay.
About The Author: HNE is a talent agency that provides casting
services and reality tv auditions for shows such as American
Idol, Big Brother, Amazing Race, Survivor, Trading Spaces.
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