Monday, May 25, 2009

Reality TV


Although the invention of television and related technology can be dated as back as late 1800’s commercial television was not around till mid 1900’s, the original debut of commercial TV was shadowed by World War II and got fame after the war ended.

Reality TV - Introduction

What exactly is reality TV? It is a genre / category of television programming in which there is no concept of pre scripted events or dialogues and is more focused on real time events not to be mistaken with documentaries and news / sports shows.

Reality TV - History

Reality TV can be dated back to as far as 1940’s with early shows as Candid Camera which was instant hit to early 1950’s Miss America Beauty Pageant laid strong foundations for Reality TV.

Reality TV - Reason for Popularity

Many factors can be accounted for outstanding popularity of Reality TV, few of them are listed below,

• Ordinary people coming on national television.
• Ability of turning ordinary people into celebrities.
• Unscripted events can lead to humorous situations.
• Provides chance to earn huge amount of money by participating in shows.
• People like to enjoy pain, agony, happiness and other emotional situation of another person.

Reality TV – Critical View

Although Reality TV is perhaps one of the most genres of television programming, It has its own lion’s share of criticism, We shall discuss the criticism based on morals, ethics and social point of views.

Morals / Social / Ethics

Different people from different parts of world and belonging to different casts, religion, and moral values cannot agree or be happy with the idea a director or producer had for the show, popular example would be dating shows which encourage girls and boys to come ahead and explore dating and unmarried sex which is prohibited in Islam and Christianity.

A certain type of show may not be popular in a certain area of the world (Temptation Island was a big failure in India) and popularity and success of the show depends on the social and ethnic background of the people.


Often reality TV shows are subject to criticism based on a phenomenon known as schadenfreude (German word meaning enjoyment taken from the misfortune of someone else.) Often in shows such as Candit Camera, America’s Funniest Home Videos etc, We end up laughing at someone’s account without taking into context how the other person is feeling about the issue.

Are They Real?

One skeptic view of reality TV is that the events portrayed and viewers see on their TV screen are not real but are pre scripted events and are molded according to surveys conducted to see what end viewer wants

Reality TV – Are WE Responsible

We as a viewer are 100% responsible for encouraging TV channels to come up with more and more ridiculous excuse for programs all in name of “reality tv”, programs ranging from “Khuwaja Ki Idalat” to “Living On The Edge” are just few examples of what our media is working on now days.

The concept of quality programming and shows is dying day by day because of viewers and their craving for reality TV. We won’t blame TV channels because they would not be launching a TV and spending xyz amount of money on it without conducting proper surveys and studies so they before hand know that its going to pay them back.

Reality TV – Media Point of View

We shall not be biased in bashing Reality TV and therefore we shall explore the point of view of a TV channel which is busily producing such reality TV shows.

At the end of the day a show is considered as success if it generates viewership and advertisement revenue. In a cut throat competition like we have in our country a producer / director is living on the edge (no pun intended to the reality tv show bearing the similar name) and is often forced to come up (our polite choice of word for plagiarism) inspired by some foreign show.

Reality TV – What Can We Do? (Media Point Of View)

Its not necessary to follow western media and copy each and everything they do, We cannot deny the fact that reality TV is popular but we can use all that popularity, all that energy into something positive by making a show which encourages some social issue, award a deserving individual by promoting him/her or making life of a deserving family better.

A show can be created to start a competition for individuals to adopt a particular area of suburbs and teach certain amount of children, Or the same amount of energy which is wasted doing dares (By now you can tell how much we HATE that show) can be utilized by making the individual help someone deserving by dare (anything which can make someone do a good cause).

No comments: