Reality Television

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In this analysis I intend to examine CBS’s program The Amazing Race using the literature Global TV Realities by John McMurria, Televisions New Engines by Michael Keane and Albert Moran, and The Mass Production of Celebrity by Graeme Turner as instruments to analyze the program. The three readings assist in the analysis of CBS’s The Amazing Race because the concepts and arguments presented by the authors within the readings offers insight into the production of The Amazing Race as well as the global distribution of The Amazing Race television format. In the first segment of this analysis I will provide a description of The Amazing Race as well as general information about the program. In the following paragraphs of the analysis I will address each piece of literature individually and discuss there connections to CBS’s The Amazing Race beginning with McMurria’s piece and finishing with Turner’s piece.

The Amazing Race aired in the United States in 2001 on the major television network CBS and is currently on its 21st season. Since it aired the program has proven to be extremely popular in the United States earning thirteen Prime Time Emmy Awards and has also gained significant popularity on a global platform. The Amazing Race is a reality television game show that features teams of two competing against each other in a race around the world. Typically, each season of The Amazing Race features eleven teams of two, each team having a preexisting relationship such as parents and their child Anderson 2

and/or couples. The race beings at a designated starting location somewhere around the globe and from that location each team competes against each other to complete the multiple legs of the race and reach each checkpoint in the least amount of time. The location of the starting point as well as the checkpoints varies in each season of the program. For each team to complete each leg of the race around the world they must first complete two or more tasks before receiving the information and documents needed to travel to the subsequent location. Each team competing in the race travels to the various checkpoint locations around the world using many modes of transportation such as hot-air balloons, airplanes, boats, and trains. As the teams complete the required tasks and finish each leg of the race the teams with the worst completion times are progressively eliminated and the teams with the best completion times at each checkpoint are awarded prizes. The teams progress through the checkpoints until only three teams are left. Once eight of the eleven total teams are eliminated, the three remaining teams race to the final checkpoint where the grand prize is awarded.

The literature Global Television Realities by John McMurria discusses television formats and the manner in which television conglomerates distribute these formats globally. Television format is described as the overall concept, premise and branding of a copyrighted television program (Wikipedia). Television formats such as that of The Amazing Race are commodities that are produced and distributed in the global market in the same manner as any other good or service. As discussed in the literature the global formatting business is very lucrative. According to McMurria “One study found that the global format business was worth $2.4 billion in 2004” (McMurria, Pg. 184). Anderson 3

A major themes illustrated within the reading is the differences between the global television format markets. McMurria emphasizes throughout the reading that the price in which television format are sold as well as the projected popularity of a program varies greatly depending on the international market in which it is sold. Due to the difference in price in the various international markets a majority of television formats are made for wealthier industrialized markets such as the United States because “Exports to the United States and Europe are most valuable as format prices are 10 to 40...
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