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Turning Reality Into Tv: An Analysis Of Reality Television

2159 words - 9 pages

“Americans spend 1/3 of their free time watching television and of that, 67% are reality shows” (“Shocking Statistics“). This means that reality television is one of the most viewed genres of TV. Reality TV has been around for many years, possibly longer than you would expect. The first documented reality show was Candid Camera, it aired in 1947 (Lackman 357). However, reality TV’s extreme popularity did not begin to skyrocket until the late 1990’s. Today reality TV is popular all over the world. People from all different countries are a part of the making of it as well as part of the large number of viewers. Reality TV is a genre of TV based on real people and real situations. The causes of ...view middle of the document...

This led to a whole new generation of reality TV (McGee).
The late 1990s and early 2000’s played an enormous part in the establishment of reality TVs’ popularity. This was a time when many reality television programs were being acknowledged. A variety of new interesting shows were catching people’s eyes (“Facts and Effects“). At this time, there was one particular kind of reality TV show that was growing in popularity. These were the talent search shows. These are shows like The Voice, American Idol, and America’s Got Talent. The audience found these shows interesting because they got to watch average everyday people getting recognition for their talents. People loved seeing these shows and thinking, “that could be me” (“Facts and Effects“). Another thing people loved about these shows was how interactive they were. They could cast their vote by calling or texting a number given to them on screen and have a say in the results. This really made viewers feel as if they were part of the show (“Facts and Effects“).
Nowadays most people know that reality television is extremely popular, but some may wonder what makes it so popular. There are a handful of reasons, one simply being the realness of these shows. “Reality TV is a genre of television programs which feature both common people and celebrities in real life situations” (Lackman 357). “People watch, probably for their need for social connection” (Green). People like to relate to the characters and the situation they are put through (Reiss). Many like to compare what they think they would do and say in an event to what the contestants say and do in said event (McGee). People are also fascinated by the instant fame and wealth that comes with being on these shows. In some cases it appears people with virtually no talent can become rich just for letting someone follow them around with a camera. This is appealing to people because they feel that they too are capable of accomplishing this kind of success. Some people just like the fact that they can temporarily escape from their own life and take a look into someone else’s (Reiss).
Popularity is not the only factor in the amount of reality television programs that are being aired. A huge part of it is how cheap they are to make. The average budget to produce reality TV shows is $100,000 (“Facts and Effects”). This is a very little amount compared to the price of making many other genres of TV. For instance, the average drama’s budget is around $700,000 per hour (“Facts and Effects“). If you take a look at the budget of a well-crafted animated TV program like the Simpson’s, it is around 2 million dollars per episode. A reality TV show does not require as much special equipment, and there is no need for any special effects. This makes trying to create a reality TV show less of a risk when it comes to money (Facts and Effects).
Most people know what reality TV shows are, but most do not know what it is actually like inside of one. Something that...

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