The Influence of Reality Television on Society

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The Influence of Reality Television on Society, Culture, & Growth
Over the past 50 years, reality television has become more than a phenomenon; it is now one of America’s primary sources of entertainment. Due to its popularity and inexpensive production value, studios have a deep desire to maintain and create new reality shows. The fact that shows are coming back and becoming reliable staples year round, David F. Poltrack said, “increases what was already an economic advantage.” In 2001, reality shows of all kinds accounted for 20 percent of TV’s prime-time schedule and today they account for about 40 percent. They were also a key factor in Americans’ migration from network television to cable, where 90 percent of reality TV is seen. Not only has society because obsessed with the diverse themes of these shows, but completely invested in these “real” people. “The absolute volume of reality entertainment has fueled a demand for untrained talent that simply didn’t exist 10 years ago,” said Aaron Barnhart of the Kansas City Star. “That’s your neighbor on an episode of MTV’s True Life; that’s a local bar-band singer winning American Idol; that’s your landlord getting fired by Donald Trump on The Apprentice.” The obsession of reality television has severely influenced our society, culture, and individual growth as human beings because it is portraying reality in false and mindless light. When people want to relax or have some personal time to spare, they looking to television to fulfill their need of entertainment. This time of relaxation occurs more frequently in the summer time: the prime season of all reality television. Reality shows continue to dominate ratings every summer, especially among viewers whom the majority of networks consider most valuable, those 18 to 49. On broadcast television, 15 of the top 20 highest-rated programs among that younger adult group were reality or unscripted shows. Believe it or not, the highest rated reality show of the summer of 2010 was MTV’s Jersey Shore. Jersey Shore has sexual hook-ups, cultural caricatures, nasty language and bursts of physical violence which appeals to the younger demographic average age of 23.5. None of the issues and people surrounding the show is likeable, but people continue to watch because they are making fools out of themselves. That is “entertainment”? What viewers say they want and what they really watch are not the same. “It’s clear people have their favorite summer pastime reality shows, and they’re watching them,” said David F. Poltrack, the chief research officer for CBS. A 3-year panel named Temptation Island, The Bachelor, Joe Millionaire : A Prospective Cohort Study on the Role of Romantically Themed Reality Television in Adolescents' Sexual Development study 498 young people by exploring the reasons for and effects of viewing romantically themed reality television (RTRT). Watching RTRT was predicted by television addiction and viewing frequencies, but not by connectedness to others and viewing motives. “Viewing RTRT, in actuality, predicted communication with peers about sex among girls, and higher estimations of peers’ sexual activities among boys one year later.” On the other hand, viewing RTRT did not predict a clichéd romantic outlook on relationships. There was a discussion and need to investigate the longitudinal relationships between television viewing and adolescents’ sexuality, with individual attention toward the surfacing of gender differences in these relationships. With the unrelenting popularity of reality television among young viewers, it is essential to identify pre-teen and teen audiences who not only watch a reality program but have a high level of connectedness to it. “Connectedness expands further than just viewing the program and involves further engagement—posting on social networking sites, for instance, or buying products placed on the show.” The author of The Appeal of Reality Television For Teen and Pre-Teen Audiences...
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