Reality Tv

Reality Television
'In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.' Andy Warhol (1928-1987), pop artist and avant-garde filmmaker (statement made in 1968) Reality television shows have proven to be incred ibly popular with audiences. The final episode of The Block (2003) was Australia's most watched television broadcast since the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Before that, only one other television broadcast had had a bigger audience - the funeral of Princess Diana.

What is reality TV?
Reality television is a broad category that includes a wide range of programs aiming to be both factual and entertaining. There are various definitions. The creator of the Survivor format, Charlie Parsons, defines reality TV as shows containing 'producer created environments that control contestant behaviour'. But this definition excludes, for example, emergency services and police force programs. Television reviewer Kerrie Murphy has a broader definition. She says reality TV generally involves filming the actions and reactions of people in a set situation. This situation can be a natural one, as in Airport (UK, 1996-present), or it can be completely contrived, as in Big Brother. Jonathon Bignell defines reality TV as programs 'where the unscripted behaviour of ordinary people is the focus of interest'. An important aspect is the comprehensive monitoring of everyday behaviour. The boundaries to the reality television genre are blurred. Some programs, such as Big Brother, are like sitcoms. Contestants are trapped together under one roof in the same way as characters in a flat-share sitcom. Others, such as Border Security (2006) or Airport, are more like soap operas or dramas. Some reality programs resemble documentaries while others have characteristics in common with talk shows or game shows. Programs such as Australian Idol are like talent quests. An important factor that separates reality television from other genres based on real-life contestants is the focus on their private...