Reality Television has been around since the beginnings of TV but has only recently become extremely popular. We all recognize Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as “reality shows”, but this category is home to many of other types of shows. From game shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune to adventure-type shows like Survivor, Man vs. Wild, and Fear Factor, the reality TV genre is much more expansive than you may believe.
Reality TV exploded in the 2000s with the introduction of Big Brother, American Idol, Survivor, and more. Some of these shows have even spurred a global reaction creating similar shows all around the world; American Idol, America’s Next Top Model, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, The Apprentice, and Fear Factor. The huge increase in viewership was probably due to the fact that shows like this had never been so ‘relatable’ or ‘entertaining’ before! Reality shows can be split into groups even further: those that feature a special living environment (Survivor, Amazing Race, The Real World, Jersey Shore, etc.), those that focus on celebrities’ lives (Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, The Simple Life, etc.), and those that focus on professional activities (Deadliest Catch, Man vs. Wild, Miami Ink, The Bounty Hunter, etc.). With so many types of reality programs available today, it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular genres on TV right now.
Several channels on TV are considered specifically reality channels – TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Bravo – while others include, but are not limited to, reality programs – MTV, VH1, CW, E!. Just this year, several new reality shows were introduced to the line-up and have made huge impacts in popularity. The most popular reality shows of 2012 (from most popular to least) are as follows: The Voice, American Idol, Duck Dynasty, America’s Next Top Model, Jersey Shore, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, MythBusters, The Apprentice, and Punk’d.
Though there are always new reality shows being released, I found it interesting that so many of these reality programs have been in the running for several years! American Idol is on its tenth year, America’s Next Top Model is on its ninth, and Survivor is now on its twelfth (does anyone still watch this?!)! I wonder what it is about these shows that they are still being actively produced year after year. What do you think it is? Do you still watch American Idol religiously like you might have the first few seasons? Or is it all getting a little repetitive? I personally still enjoy many of these shows but I do think a few are starting to grow a little old and definitely repetitive.
Also, how do you feel about reality shows being titled ‘reality‘ shows?! Is what these shows are portraying the real deal or are the characters in the shows being fed lines and situations to enhance the entertainment quality? This may not be the case with every program out there, but it is definitely a possibility in Jersey Shore, the Real World, and Real Housewives. What do you think?
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