Wherever you are in the world right now, there is a huge chance that the
TV station you are watching offers some form of reality television in
their programming. You cannot fault them for this; in fact, you and
millions of viewers know why reality shows are very popular today.|
This is a genre of television were episodes were just used as fillers for non-important timeslots. However, reality TV has proven that it is a crowd drawer and thus becomes a constant part of the primetime block.
Reality television can be distilled by the structure that it uses. Instead of a plot and scripted emotions, shows from this genre are placed in certain situations to generate direct human emotions. Therefore, the term "reality TV" was coined from the fact that what the viewers see on screen are real reactions and feelings. There is minimal or zero acting involved, and there's an absence of scripts.
Another aspect that really separates it from other genres is the use of real people instead of actors. These make the entire setup more believable as these seemingly common people end up showing raw emotions such as fear, anger, and surprise. There are shows that do have celebrities, but they are still thrust to situations without their knowledge. Hence, the show can still draw out unrehearsed reactions.
Why Are They So Popular?
The main reason for the popularity of reality TV is the formula it uses to create a sense of unpredictability, making a lot of viewers very curious as to the final outcome. Audiences are also able to relate more with the natural reactions of regular people.
Networks and production houses are also attracted to the genre because of the fact that it will require lesser costs. Reality shows are generally cheaper to produce, because of simpler production equipment and the absence of professional actors. Furthermore, reality shows were able revive the interest of audiences to television in a period when formulaic series were losing their steam and young generations were exposed to another reality source: the Internet.
Another advantage of reality television is the limitless possibilities that you can come up with to keep the interest of the audiences at bay. Themes that could not have been filmed using traditional productions have found their way as reality shows. It is even possible to recycled situations using a new cast of regular people because the randomness of their emotions guarantees a different dynamic every time.
Is It Really Reality TV?
Because the situations are often thought about by producers even before filming, there has been debate about the use of the term "reality" by this genre. To some extent, the events, locations, and atmosphere of these shows are controlled by the crew; hence, there are aspects that are actually not real.
However, it can also be argued that even if the situations are often fabricated, emotions are still unscripted, and the persons featured in reality television are not directed to act in a specific way. How they adapt to a particular scenario gives it the reality not found on other shows.