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.