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Why Reality Shows Are So Popular

1084 words - 5 pages

Every day, millions of people turn on their televisions to indulge in a wide variety of shows, the most popular choice being some form of reality television. This catch-all genre is somewhere between information and entertainment and contains all types of programming involving everyday individuals. Some debate that this type of programming is senseless and debased, where others view it as amusing as well as enlightening. Regardless of which side a person may agree with, there is still one undeniable fact: reality television is here to stay. The target audience, the cost of production, and the ability to give the viewer an outlet are three main reasons why this is possible.
Though many people ...view middle of the document...

e. gossiping, lying, cheating on mates, divorce rates, and emphasis on sexual relations in romantic relationships). The results? The group of regular viewers almost unanimously assumed that the amount of people who lived this way was far higher than those who never watched reality television at all. This shows that people have started to rely on reality television to base their thinking off of. It is no wonder why many cannot go a day without tuning in every night.
Another reason that reality television is so popular is because it is most cost effective to produce. The New York Times claims that such programming has become so popular that it has “changed the economics of the television industry”. (qtd. in Hill 6) Many larger corporations have resorted to buying out smaller ones in order to increase their amount of syndication, or broadcasting rights. This makes it harder for independent producers to put out new programming, since all of the desired time slots are now filled with big name reality programming. Charles B. Slocum stated that television networks require “lower cost reality programs to balance the higher cost drama and comedy” programs. (qtd. In “Reality Television”) By broadcasting more reality television shows than actual scripted dramas, the companies are making more money. This is because the cost of reality television is cut in half by using a smaller production crew, as well as little to no scriptwriters or professional actors. Leslie Moonves, CBS Television president, compares reality television to a drug that supplies a “quick fix” but still lacks longevity. As long as reality television stays relatively cheap to make, there will never be a lack of new concept to keep the trend going. That alone is a guarantee that reality TV will continue to stay around.
When the average person comes home from a long day of work or school, the first thing they would like to do is relax and unwind. Millions of Americans choose to turn on one of the latest reality television shows to do this. Why? Many of these viewers use reality television as an escape from reality. Chris Weller stated in his article entitled Welcome to My Un-Reality that “reality television...

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