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THE HISTORY OF REALITY TV Perception is reality..

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Presentation on theme: "THE HISTORY OF REALITY TV Perception is reality.."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE HISTORY OF REALITY TV Perception is reality.

2 WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT REALITY TV You cant do that. You cant do it, no you cant. This is awful. (Reaction Big Brother creator John de Mol got from his colleague when he first mentioned the format) Whose was the sick mind which infected all the others? Because this does seem to be an infectious disease – worse than BSE (German TV critic)

3 WHAT IS REALITY TV?

4 Reality TV is defined as a television programme that presents apparently unscripted dramatic or humorous situations and features ordinary people instead of actors

5 EXPLOITATION?

6 LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR?

7 SWAMPING THE SCHEDULE

8 REALITY KILLS SCRIPTED DRAMA? In the US, reality TV has been blamed for killing scripted drama on network TV In the 90s, NBC brought us Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier and ER, the must see-shows of the decade In 2001 NBCs dominance was broken by the CBS reality hit Survivor The networks realised they could get high ratings without paying writers or actors, ushering in the reality TV era. In 2009, NBC did not place a single scripted drama in the top 20 Many see this as short-termism on behalf of the industry – will anyone want to watch repeats of Survivor in 2020, yet we can still enjoy scripted comedy made 50 years ago

9 THE REALITY TV WINNERS

10 LIFE IMITATES ART?

11 THE CAM GIRLS

12 THE GRAND-DADDY OF REALITY TV

13 BEADLES ABOUT

14 Another key influence is the British documentary series Seven Up. The first programme appeared in 1964 and took a group of seven year olds – the idea was to return every 7 years. We last saw them in 2005 aged 49!

15 Also important were early fly on the wall documentaries like An American Family in the US and The Family in the UK. They can be seen as the direct ancestors of hit shows like The Osbournes. Like all the best reality shows they made the families into stars

16 Its also worth looking at early talent shows like The Gong Show which made fools of members of the public. The show was very similar to Simon Cowells hit shows like X-Factor and Britains Got Talent

17 The true ancestors of modern reality TV are thought to be the real life police show Cops and MTVs The Real World, a show about a group of young people living together. Many see this as the forerunner to Big Brother.

18 Also worth looking at is the British makeover show Changing Rooms, where members of the public were asked to decorate their neighbours homes, often with disastrous results

19 THE GOLDEN AGE OF REALITY TV – 2000 to PRESENT DAY

20 REALITY TOPS THE RATINGS Reality TV saw an explosion in popularity globally starting in the early 2000s Two series – Survivor and American Idol have been the top rated series on American TV for since 2001 The Apprentice and Big Brother have also had a massive global impact, being syndicated world wide Other huge hits have been Britains (or Americas) Got Talent, Wife Swap, X Factor, The Osbournes, The Simple Life, Supernanny, Extreme Makeover, The Bachelor, Im a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

21 THE MAIN REALITY GENRES Talent Shows Makeovers Celebrity shows Factual reality Television Life swaps Social experiments (such as Big Brother)

22 Reality TV is all about the edit – hours of footage are shot and then edited into carefully constructed packages. Without digital editing packages like avid or final cut pro this would be impossible – reality TV is a product of technological change

23 Reality TV works largely on stereotypes – the pretty one, the gay one, the stupid one The producers hold endless auditions to find the people to cast the show with. Any complexity of character is removed in editing. This is true in all TV, but especially so in reality shows that are produced purely for entertainment value There is very little that is real in reality TV; the contestants may not be scripted as such, but their actions are presented to the viewer in tightly edited and scripted packages that are designed to manipulate the audience But because it is sold as reality we quickly lose our critical faculties BRAINWASHING

24 Reality shows are also often streamed live on the internet. This allows viewers to become totally immersed and creates the false sense of intimacy that reality TV thrives upon. This year there was an outcry from hardcore fans when C4 cut the Big Brother live feed

25 SMS/PHONE VOTING The structure of modern reality TV has been influenced by technology - in particular the popularity of SMS text messaging, that took off in the early years of the 21 st century Between 2000 and 2005, Big Brother gathered 80 million votes

26 SCANDAL

27 BAD TASTE TV?

28 FAMOUS FOR BEING FAMOUS

29 REALITY TV, CELEBRITY CULTURE AND THE CLASS SYSTEM Reality TV is one of the main driving forces behind modern celebrity culture Seeing ordinary members of the public given instant fame fuels the powerful myth anyone can do it that is part and parcel of Western culture. There is the illusion that TV fame can transcend class and power structures

30 THE CELEBRITY UNDEAD

31 REALITY TV = £££ For ageing celebrities or faded stars, reality TV = the chance of a big pay cheque. Thanks to celebrity inflation, stars like David Hasslehoff can ask for as much as £50,000 for a days work In addition to the appearance fee, there are magazine deals and often lucrative advertising contracts Modern reality TV is a big industry and the big reality shows become household brands, like Pepsi or Nike

32 FAKERY

33 THE JAMIE EFFECT

34 SUMMARY Reality TV is a strange hybrid of documentary and entertainment Modern reality TV as a genre relies heavily on technology – digital editing, small cameras, SMS voting and the internet Reality TV is about stereotypes and conflict Reality TV is primarily an entertainment genre but can be used to do good – eg Jamie Olivers programmes


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