THE REALITY OF REALITY TV
THE REALITY OF REALITY TV
Even though reality television may seem real to some, there are several controversies surrounding the fact that it might actually be scripted. This is just one of the major misconceptions of reality television. Millions of people are addicted to watching reality television every single day. It is even being said that these controversies, addiction, sense of voyeuristic nature, yearning for empowerment, and diversion instance could be the reason why an individual’s viewing habits have changed ever since the creation of reality television. One of the biggest controversies surrounding reality television is if they are real or scripted? When Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak was still competing on the hit television show “Dancing with the Stars”, he stated on the wall of his Facebook page the following words; “The producers play games to get viewers and don’t disclose the (voting) numbers. If they disclosed the numbers, it would be less of a game, but still suspect. If tomorrow they claim I’m in the bottom 2 dance teams, including viewer votes, I believe that’s an outright lie.” The next show, Wozniak did end up in the bottom two, but by then he recanted his post by calling himself a “heel” and a “loudmouth”. He ended up apologizing for ever questioning the show. (Ventre, 2009) J. Rupert Thompson, a director and producer who includes “Big Brother” and “Fear Factor” listed amongst his many credits states “Certainly reality TV is a very manipulated format where the basis of it is that real people are put into an unreal situation. One could argue that it’s scripted because the situation is created by the producers. What makes it so compelling is that you never know what a real person’s reaction to an unreal situation will be. That’s why you get REALITY3.
such great stuff on reality TV.” Do viewers care if their supposed reality TV shows are artificially enhanced by producers and writers? According to Thompson, “I think there are both types out there. I think some demand credibility and others just want to be entertained. I think the educated viewer knows what reality TV is and what it has become.”(Ventre, 2009) This is just one point of view from many regarding whether these types of shows are scripted or not scripted. There is a major difference between reality television and fictional television. It is the obsession of original personalities, situations, and problems. The writers and producers promise to depict reality, however the plots of reality based shows are somewhat influenced by the competitor's awareness of several cameras filming them all at once, the entire time. It is also influenced by the necessity for the producers to edit the original filmed footage to the length of the television show broadcast. Ganz-Blattler (2005, p7) argues that very little is left to chance in the world of reality television. Just like in fictional shows, location and cast members are carefully selected before the shooting of the very first pilot. There are two main differences to the formats. For one, the actors and actresses are not professional, they are merely everyday ordinary people who want to be filmed for television. This is a cheaper way for hiring people to be on a show, but it makes them a whole lot more difficult to be controlled. In most cases, the actors and actresses do not use an actual script. Still a common characteristic of reality television programs will always remain the same. They claim to provide the audience an "unmediated, voyeuristic, and yet often playful look into what might be called entertaining real" (Murray & Ouellette, 2009, p.5). So basically they are beating around the bush and there is no real way to get an answer as to whether it is actually scripted or not.
So, are they...