Week 12: Reality TV

Where do you think the future of reality television shows is heading?  Will new forms of technology for example make an impact?


Reality TV dominates many peoples normal TV viewing over their lives. When the latest season of Masterchief or The Block comes out, the numbers of views on any particular channel will increase as the various adherents to the genre jump on board for another ride. However, nobody is interested in watching the same predictable plot and ideas as last time; they want something new and exciting each time that they tune into one of these shows, and so innovation in the production and portrayal of these shows is essential to continue the success of the format. In the case of American Idol, after a number of seasons “TV critics and social media chatter suggested the series had lost its cultural value, suffering from format fatigue.” Hill (2015). Due to its apparent lack of innovation and development as a show, American Idol died after years of dominance, only to be replaced with new talent shows that adapted in ways the original never considered.

There are several ways in which the development of Reality TV could go, such as the use of more interactive features for these shows. An example of this would be the use of live voting to dictate how contestants in reality TV shows behave. Shows like American Idol and The Block make use of audience participation to affect the shows outcome, however it is usual only every once in a while or at critical moments that the audience participation is included, and it often is over longer periods of time (several hours to a whole season for The Block’s Peoples choice award). Integrating the near instant communication afforded by streaming platforms such as Twitch into reality TV can allow them to direct people within the show to do what they want. If its a travel show, you as an audience member can choose where you go, such as being able to “point out the mysterious alley to the host, and they then go back to give you a closer look.” Coby (2019). This encourages the audience to engage with the show in a more intimate and regular basis as it feels like their input is having an appreciable affect on the show and its contents. While many people who vote in a American Idol poll will feel that their vote has little impact on the end result, with an increase in the frequency of the votes needed there will also be a higher chance of a persons vote winning and affecting the shows progression, affirming the feeling that they are actually valued and so encouraging them to continue participation.

Since its inception, Reality TV has “remained on the cusp of developments in media convergence, interactivity, user-generated content, and greater viewer involvement in television.” New York University Press. (2009). The genre is so dependent on its viewers engagement with the people in it, that improving these concepts over time is essential to maintaining dominance on the charts for the genre. As long as the shows continue to innovate and strive, engaging with new techniques and technologies as they do, they will remain the kings of Television.





Coby, A. S. (2019, April 22). Future of reality TV where you control stars’ every move is finally here. Retrieved from https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/8886616/reality-tv-interactive-future-twitch/.

Hill, A. (2015). Reality Tv. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

New York University Press. (2009). Reality Tv: remaking television culture. New York.

Week 11: 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 has become one of the most, if not the most, influential television genres currently on air. The dominance of it in the numbers of viewers it draws, and the wide range of shows that it has produced, means that it has become ingrained into humanity as a favored pastime and something that shapes our societies views and values accordingly. However, the negative views that society has of some of these shows, such as the Jeremy Kyle Show and Benefits Street, has led to many speaking out against the negative impacts these shows have on the individuals involved and the people who watch them.

One of the key draws of Reality TV is how the ‘average Joe’ is now a part of the televised story, allowing for more relatability and enjoyment from something that involves real people; no matter how staged it actually is. “Ordinary people are now welcomed on screen, providing subject matter, “case studies,” points ofidentification, and sources of disobedience and conflict.” Ouellette (2008). It allows the watcher to either have increased sympathy for someone, but also permits them to have their personal biases confirmed through the medium. The shows of this genre aim to get greater emotional responses from their viewership, and don’t care if its good or bad.

The Jeremy Kyle Show was first aired in 2005, and for the mainstay of its content focused on attempting to resolve conflicts between couples, friends and family members in front of an audience, supported by dubious scientific methods. The way it portrayed many of its guests as the cause of all their problems led to concerns about the mental impact on them. The way in which problems such as substance abuse were displayed in the show meant that people were often “held fully responsible and blamed for their substance use, resulting problems, and failure of treatment” Atkinson (2018). This meant that the environment that the show created was one of a blame culture, where those who were in difficult situations were entirely responsible for that situation and therefore there is little to no sympathy from the audience and wider public for these individuals that are often caught up in endless spirals of poverty and discrimination, which is then multiplied by the microscope that the wider public is placing on them. Many people in the wider public had their personal beliefs about ‘certain people’ confirmed by these participants. Shows like this promoted a more judgmental attitude towards those in the lower end of the income scale and those who struggles with addictions, which in turn meant they didn’t receive as much support.

The show Benefits Street was first shown in 2014 and documented the lives of  several residents of a road in Birmingham, all of whom were living on the benefit. The brutal nature of these peoples lives, and particularly the way in which the show documented the repeated crimes that they performed. The show was accused of being ‘poverty porn’, and those involved in its creation were threatened and insulted for their work. However, the biggest impact that the show had was in terms of its ability to spark a conversation on “the future of social security [which] continues to be debated in the
mainstream media” Lamb (2016). It caused a large amount of debate around social issues like the benefit and was even mentioned in the House of Commons, at the center of British parliament.

While both of these show did garner a large amount of hatred from the public, they also created a forum for discussions around certain issues, though they often had a negative impact on those they had participate on the show as they emphasized the negatives far more than the positives to garner more attention.


Atkinson, A. M., & Sumnall, H. (2018). Neo-liberal discourse of substance use in the UK reality TV show, The Jeremy Kyle Show. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 1–12. doi: 10.1080/09687637.2018.1498456

Ouellette, L. & Hay, J. Better living through reality TV: television and post-welfare citizenship. (2008). Choice Reviews Online46(03). doi: 10.5860/choice.46-1307

Lamb, B. Cathy Come Off Benefits: A comparative ideological analysis of Cathy Come Home and Benefits Street. (2016). Journalism and Discourse Studies, Issue 2.

Week 12

3.Where do you think the future of reality television shows is heading?  Will new forms of technology for example make an impact? 

It is well known that reality TV shows became popular worldwide as a dominant type of TV program in the early 21st century. From the success of Survivor and Big Brother in the us, reality shows have developed rapidly since then. Among them, Survivor and American Idol have the highest ratings in the United States. It is foreseeable that reality shows will continue to be welcomed by the audience. Reality TV becomes an important member of TV programs in the near future. This is mainly related to the development factors of reality shows and new production technologies (Ikoro, Omessah & Ekevere, 2015).

Cherry (2008) believes that there are several factors contributing to the development of reality TV. The first factor is television’s struggle with other media outlets. Both pay-tv DVDS and the Internet have eroded free TV’s status as the primary media channel. As a result, reality shows provide a unique and, more importantly, cheap form of programming for free-to-air stations. The second factor is the economy, where reality TV has saved television from being replaced by competing media such as the Internet, DVDs and movies. As these shows have grown in popularity, so has their ability to generate revenue for broadcasters and show owners. The third factor is that on the social and cultural level, reality TV shows have an undeniable huge impact on contemporary society. Reality TV has been praised and criticized for a variety of reasons that are largely bordering on moral. Despite these shortcomings, its prospects are great because it involves issues of interest and concern to mankind. Based on these three factors, reality TV will continue to revolutionize the TV viewing experience.

The new production technology will promote the further development of reality shows. First of all, the application of digital camera not only makes the program picture more abundant, but also saves the shooting time and reduces the production cost. It is now much cheaper to shoot everything with more cameras, allowing studios to shoot from multiple angles and in more diverse ways. Secondly, the emergence of digital imaging technology makes the post-production of reality shows easier. It not only has great advantages in screening a large number of shots, but also has advantages in the synthesis of audio and video. Some large sensor DSLRS can capture stunning images, but not the same realistic and effortless audio. As a result, a second recording device is sometimes used, which doubles the number of documents taken at one time: one set from the camera and the other from the recording device. In this dual-system scenario, digital imaging groups video files with audio files, making it easier for audio files to find and synchronize all video files after they are published. This simplifies the post-production process and saves time and money in the long run. The new form of technology has changed the way reality shows are shot and edited and promoted the further development of reality shows (Reality TV and the New Future of Digital Production, n.d.).


Cherry, K. L. (2008). Reality TV and interpersonal relationship perceptions (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri–Columbia). Retrieved from: https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/5532/research.pdf

Ikoro, E. A., Omessah, C. C., & Ekevere, F. O. (2015). Reality Television or Television Reality Shows: Forms, Genres and Modes. Department of Fine Applied Art, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, 385-386. Retrieved from: http://www.springjournals.net/full-articles/springjournals.netglobalarticlesindex=6ikoroetal.pdf?view=inline

Reality TV and the New Future of Digital Production. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://columbus.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/realityofrealitytv-millsjames.pdf

week 11

2.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’?

Since the popularization of reality TV, it has been pursued by the public and brought great influence to the society. The programs range from crime, celebrity, dating and love shows to extreme body modification of characters and families, which causes great debates in the society. These influences include creating fake events like misleading editors, participants’ behavioral guidance, advance stories, staged scenes, etc. The affection also contains manipulating winners, insulting or exploiting exploitation participants, making stars out of the less talented, and glorifying vulgarity and materialism (Reality TV, 2019). In addition, reality TV presents rudeness, conflict and criminal behavior to the society, and negative emotions related to this have become the main content of reality TV (Lorenzo-Dus & Garces-Conejos Blitvich, 2013). As a tv-watching culture, audience have become increasingly obsessed with instant gratification. These negative factors mislead the public, affect the participants in some cases, and even lead to social class antagonism (Slade, Narro & Buchanan, 2014).

Jeremy Kyle Show is an example of Reality TV in the UK. Which is hosted by Jeremy Kyle, it premiered on the ITV network on July 4, 2005 and ran for 16 consecutive series until it was cancelled on May 10, 2019. The show is based on opposites, in which participants try to solve important problems in their lives with others. These problems are often related to family relationships, romantic relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol (Hawthorn, 2007). Jeremy Kyle Show puts participants in confrontational situations, often verbally criticizing participants he considers morally questionable or irresponsible and emphasizing the importance of traditional family values. The participants often showed strong emotions, such as anger and distress. The lie detectors are often used on shows to determine whether a person is lying (The Jeremy Kyle Show, 2019). Jeremy Kyle Show‘s popularity has sparked controversy and been labeled tabloid trash. Its cynicism, lack of taste and exploitation of vulnerable participants have drawn criticism from leading newspaper columnists (Lorenzo-Dus & Garces-Conejos Blitvich, 2013). That kind of denigration didn’t help the participants, and it even worked the other way around for Steve Dymond, 63, who worked on an episode of Jeremy Kyle. The episode was filmed a week before his death after he took the show’s lie detector test, which determined he had cheated on his partner, and was later suspected of killing himself (The Jeremy Kyle Show, 2019).

Benefits Street is another example of Reality TV in the UK. It first aired on January 6th in 2014 and aired five episodes. The program follows life in several neighborhoods of James Turner Street in Birmingham, England, where 90% of residents are on welfare. It also shows crimes committed by welfare recipients, including shoplifting. It also depicts people relying on welfare payments without the incentive to seek work (The Jeremy Kyle Show, 2019).

Benefits Street is called poverty porn. It records the daily life of the unemployed urban poor live in the slum and some of the crimes of the poor which makes the audience have obvious on social insecurity in Birmingham James Turner in the Street, as much as 90% of people out of work, rely on the government’s fiscal support this situation brings negative factor of people depend on and lazy at the same time can also cause the public to society all poor misunderstanding, think over the Street represents the social all poor, poor that cause social class antagonism. Those who identified themselves as being on the center-right side of the political spectrum pointed their hatred and anger at the residents of James Turner, who throughout the broadcast were regularly compared to animals on twitter, with many threatening to kill and abuse them (Lamb, 2016).


Hawthorn, S. (2007). Why do we watch all these vile shows. Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/1741046.why-do-we-watch-all-these-vile-shows/

Lamb, B. (2016). Cathy Come Off Benefits: A comparative ideological analysis of Cathy Come Home and Benefits Street. Journalism and Discourse Studies. Retrieved from: https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4929988-dt-content-rid-10599612_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Cathy%20Come%20Off%20Benefits_%20A%20comparative%20ideological%20analysis%20of%20Cathy%20Come%20Home%20and%20Benefits%20Street%281%29.pdf

Lorenzo-Dus, N., & Garcés-Conejos Blitvich, P. (2013). Real talk : reality television and discourse analysis in action. Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat05020a&AN=aut.b16087239&site=eds-live

Reality television. (2019). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_television

Slade, A. F., Narro, A. J., & Buchanan, B. P. (2014). Reality television : oddities of culture. Lexington Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat05020a&AN=aut.b13605938&site=eds-live

The Jeremy Kyle Show. (2019). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jeremy_Kyle_Show

Week 11-12 Reality TV- Question One

  In what ways has the genre of reality television been lost through the hybridization and diversification of programs?

   Reality TV is essentially unscripted programming that doesn’t employ actors and focuses on footage of real events or situations. Reality TV does not rely on writers and actors, and much of the show is run bu producers and a team of editors. The defining aspect of reality TV is probably the manner in which it is shot. Whether the show takes place in a real setting with real people. Like the one we watched on the workshop: “Cathy come home”, which recorded the real-life of homelessness who lives in British in that background. It shoots in front of a live studio audience that participates in the program or uses hidden surveillance, reality TV relies on the camera capturing everything as it happens.

  Following the development of television programs, reality tv become more and more popular and there are more new things appears in reality. The quality of reality tv shows and how they affect a viewer’s brain has been a constant topic of debate. Some viewers claim the shows give a wholesome and unfiltered view of real life. Others point out that many series focus on cheap gags, trashy content and careful editing to entertain and build tension. Perhaps the only uncorrupted territory in reality tv is the tournament-style programs – the shows with contestants that complete right before your eyes. Even if those reality shows are a bit overproduced, they’re volumes more genuine than these scripted, edited and entirely unreal “reality” tv shows.

  However, now reality tv does not only the show that shooting and recording real people’s lives, but it’s also more likely an easy, relaxing tv show that could bring laughs to the audience. That is why reality tv has become a household commodity in just a few short years. reality tv allows people to imagine gaining fame through media exposure. People can simply sit and fantasize about becoming a celebrity themselves. Personally, it is my belief that reality shows have become more and more popular because people want to fit into the social norm and the dream of a euphoric lifestyle.

APA Reference

Metz, W. F. (2007, December 7). How Reality TV Works. Retrieved from https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/reality-tv.htm.

Question of the Week: Why are reality shows so popular? (2018, April 21). Retrieved from https://www.dailyamerican.com/entertainment/highschoolhighlights/question-of-the-week-why-are-reality-shows-so-popular/article_cf8d6f3e-14b0-5918-accd-cee738af2fe6.html.

Week 11-12, Reality TV – Question One

In what ways has the genre of  reality television been lost through the hybridization and diversification of programmes?

Modern reality TV seems to be a blend of dramatic, competition and/or factual narratives all into one show. This genre also seems to mix entertainment with a very over fantasized discourse about ‘real-life’. There are two major ways that this genre has been lost through the hybridization and diversification of programmes. The first, being through production techniques of reality TV shows such as production techniques and the second being the audience and what they like seeing on TV.

One of the ways that reality TV has been lost is through production and camera techniques. Reality TV has roots in other more established genres such as documentary and soap opera-type media and techniques from those separate genres have contributed and have been adopted by reality TV. According to Hill, the development of reality TV is a great example of how television, to survive, draws upon existing genres to create a hybrid programme which eventually becomes distinct enough to be considered a genre of its own (2005, pg 23-24). For example, in relation to documentary-type media, modern-day reality TV uses a mixture of techniques from the USA, the French and the British. Direct Cinema (early USA type documentaries) were more observational, with no analysis of what was occurring as well as more intimate. While the French Cinema Verite was more concerned with creating a relationship with the subject matter, so viewers would often see an interviewer or a cameraperson appearing in the frame and interacting with the subject. Also, British Cinema brought forward a focus on the everyday mundane life. All these elements and techniques used by early cinema and TV documentary have sculpted the way reality TV is made now and can also be seen in reality TV-styled shows such as Cathy Come Home (which is considered as a docu-drama). While Cathy Come Home has paid actors in, it mimicked a reality show in the sense that it paid attention to a mundane aspect of life (homelessness and family), there were close-ups of the characters allowing the audience to feel a connection to the subjects and so on. Additionally, Lamb mentioned that “reality television has overtaken the docudrama as the most popular form of television programming combining documentary and drama” (2016, pg 6). So, without a doubt, reality TV has been greatly influenced by those techniques mentioned above and thus, has become lost through this diversification and hybridization as it becomes mixed with other genres.

Another reason why reality TV has been lost could be because the audience dictates a reasonable amount of what reality TV show creators can successfully produce. Regardless of how good or bad a reality TV show is, ultimately, it is the audience which decides if the show is entertaining enough to keep airing on TV. Since it has been established in the previous paragraph that reality TV shows constantly reinvent themselves and are a mixture of different genres; one of the reasons they do this is to stay interesting to their public audience. Reality TV shows tend to put ordinary people in unrealistic situations – such as Survivor where the contestants are taken to an isolated island and are expected to survive without modern comforts as well as compete in sports activities as well. Survivor itself is a combination of sports TV, tabloid, competition as well as confessional and dramatic. All those elements and genres are put into one reality show and thus there are various factors in the show which attract audiences. This idea is supported by Brent and Cohen who stated that (concerning the show Big Brother) viewers enjoyed watching people living without modern comforts and of hearing the contestants thoughts on different events (Hill, 2001, cited in Brenton and Cohen, 2003). And so to conclude, the mixture of other genres as well as the audience, play a role as to how the reality TV genre has been lost.

Brenton, S., & Cohen, R. (2003). Shooting People: Adventures in Reality TV. New York: Verso.

Hill, A. (2005). Reality TV: Audiences and Popular Factual Television. London: Routledge.

Lamb, B. (2016). Cathy Come Off Benefits: A comparative ideological analysis of Cathy Come Home and Benefits Street. Journalism and Discourse Studies, (2), 2-21. 

Reality TV

  1. In what ways has the genre of  reality television been lost through the hybridization and diversification of programmes?
  2. 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’?
  3. Where do you think the future of reality television shows is heading?  Will new forms of technology for example make an impact?