Week Eleven: Reality TV

What effects do you think that reality television has on society when programmes such as the Jeremy Kyle Show are labelled as ‘tabloid trash’ and docu-soaps such as Benefits Street are called ‘poverty porn’?

Reality TV is described by google as being “television programmes in which ordinary people are continuously filmed, designed to be entertaining rather than informative”, whereas a lot of people are under the assumption that it’s supposed to reflect reality. There are many articles discussing the ‘authenticity‘ of reality television, but the reality (mind the irony) is that people who watch such shows aren’t concerned about the show’s legitimacy, as they watch them to be entertained; to see how their lives could be and laugh at the misfortune or mistakes of others – particularly when they continue to make more mistakes. It’s this misconception  – perhaps due to a mis-titling of the genre – which can cause a disconnect between the perceived or expected outcome of what somebody wants to see, verses what they actually provided with.

Reality show hosts, such as Jeremy Kyle and Doctor Phil, often market their shows as being ‘helpful’, which doesn’t really the argument that reality television is a worth while and informative genre when the the shows themselves mostly feature segments that focus on humor and audience entertainment (for those at home and the live studio audience).


Jeremy Kyle Show , ITV (2005-20019)

Dr. Phil, Oprah Winfrey Networt (since 2002)

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