Reality Shows

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Instant Fame
Fame seekers may claim that reality TV's biggest advantage comes in its unrivaled ability to produce more "15 minutes of fame" stars than other TV genres. A reality show provides exposure that people could not get anywhere else, giving non-celebrities the potential to become household names and land opportunities that otherwise may evade them.

Achieving One's Dream
Competitive reality programs offer another advantage to participants: the opportunity to follow dreams, land big breaks or win large amounts of cash. Viewers, in turn, may think they can accomplish the same and apply. Aside from the winner, numerous finalists on Fox's "American Idol" secure a record deal, while the triumphant contestant on CBS' "Survivor" wins $1 million.

Romantically challenged people could find love by appearing on reality dating shows such as ABC's "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." Couples from both series went on to enjoy lengthy post-show relationships, though like real life, Cupid's arrow sometimes shoots and misses the mark.

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Lack of Privacy
Participants (and in some instances viewers) also have to deal with reality TV disadvantages. Applicants need to read the fine print in every legal document they sign, as a personal release form gives TV producers the rights to film them during every aspect of the program.

If you apply to appear on a reality program, you have no grounds to complain about lack of privacy, or that you cannot control what ends up on TV. Every stipulation usually appears in personal and location release forms, as well as informed consent forms.

Harmful Effects to Reputation
When participants surrender their rights to privacy, they may not consider reality TV's long-term effects, subjecting themselves to potentially humiliating events that harm their reputation. Some participants emerge unscathed and parlay "bad"...
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