Television viewers have more viewing choices than ever before in deciding how to spend their time with television. In recent years, reality television has become a popular genre for viewing audiences. According to Nabi (304), reality television programs, "film real people as they live out events (contrived or otherwise) in their lives.” One popular subgenre of reality television is romance-based competition shows. These shows typically follow a contestant on their search for love and as they choose between a group of attractive suitors. Over the course of an entire season, the lead contestant eliminates the group of suitors until only one-suitor remains and the couple becomes engaged.
A significant predictor for why audiences choose to watch romance-based reality television is based on the idea that it is entertaining, stimulating, enjoyable, exciting and amusing to the viewer. Based on our assumptions of mood management, we can assume that people are increasingly drawn to positive and pleasurable stimuli. Therefore, having a desire to watch for positive outcomes within the reality show significantly predicts romance-based reality television consumption. As people like to be at a moderately high level of arousal, it is likely that they will find pleasure in contestants falling in love and finding happiness. As a result, we can assume that viewers will care deeply about what happens to these television characters in the future.
The majority of romance-based reality television programming is geared towards the individuals under thirty- five years old. It is important to note, some reality shows like Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice target a wider demographic. These shows typically target eighteen to forty-nine year olds. The reality game show subgenre has also been known to target older viewers. Reality-based romance shows, on the other hand, target a younger demographic set, because younger viewers are increasingly drawn to shows that depict characters and situations that are relevant to their everyday lives. Young women, who are looking for love, happiness and marriage, are able to relate to contestants on the Bachelor and Bachelorette also searching for love, happiness and marriage. It is important to note, the reality television shows that people prefer to watch are those that stimulate the motives people intrinsically value the most. For example, if they value romantic relationships and love, they may prefer to watch The Bachelor or Bachelorette. Therefore, when determining why people watch reality based romance television, we can assume that they will select shows based on their individual values, motives and desires.
Gender differences have been found to be a significant factor in determining people’s motivations for watching reality television. In examining the gratifications received from romanced- based reality television programming, Nabi et al. (2003) found significant sex differences. This is because, men and women will select...