First, the success of reality show is boosted by high ratings. Setting is a contributing factor to the higher ratings. It allows people to get the feel of different places, without actually being there. For example the show Real World. The show takes place in US and some different parts of the world. The show takes 6 people with different backgrounds and ethnicity and put them together to see how well they get along with each other. Audience loves to see the different sites when the casts go from places to places to have fun.
Intensive conflict is another reason for the cause of higher rating. The characters in the reality shows go through difficult situations and face many kinds of problems. The characters in the reality show Real World sometimes have conflicts between each other. The characters have different ideals and don't agree with each other's decisions, causing them to get into fights verbally and physically. As more conflicts are shown in the show, people become more curious and have the desire to watch the show over and over to see how the conflicts are resolved.
Money is another factor for the success of reality shows. People get a lot of money for being part of one of the reality shows. Millions of dollars are given to these people for setting themselves out in the public eye hoping to get lot of attention and money. American Idol characters sing in front of the many viewers and hope to win the audiences heart. The viewers choose the winner not only for good singing skills, but also on how good they look and good character. The winner instantaneously gets a lot of attention by getting record deals and makes a lot of money. As Heather McIntosh the author of "Popularity of Reality TV" stated, "In fact some reality TV "stars" make more money by appearing in talk shows and reunion specials"(2). Money is also given to people so that they can't leak out any information or phone anyone and share the secrets of the show with anybody. This ruins the suspense of the show. All these aspects lead to drama and fun for many viewers.
Compare to regular script shows, reality shows require less money and is very cheap to make. The reality show is very low budget due to low paying script and they also don't have to pay for famous actors to be in the show. The reality shows use real people instead of actors, producers don't have to pay any salaries or screen actor's guild fees. For example, the famous reality shows Survivor. The show doesn't require any script and they use regular ordinary people as the characters for the show. The show doesn't spend any money for the well being of the characters. The characters have to survive in a deserted island by working with other characters and by helping each other out.
Finally, guilty pleasure is a great key for the success of reality shows. Audiences have their own thoughts of secret pleasure when they watch the reality show. People like watching characters misfortune. Sociology professor Mark Fishman of Brooklyn College made a study about reality TV and explains, "The Germans have a word for it, the appeal of some of these shows, and it's called Schadenfreude. The word means taking delight in the misfortunes of others"(3). Viewers love to watch problems faced by the reality show characters and tend to enjoy it. In the past the contents of the shows would have been obscene to be viewed by most viewers. Now that the people tastes have changed, they love to watch the contents of the show and spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV.
There are many reality shows that create guilty pleasure for the entertainment of the viewers. Viewers love to watch the characters conflicts and get pleasure. For example, the reality television shows, "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancée." The show picks an innocent looking girl and asks her to deceive her family with a fake big fat obnoxious fiancée to win a million dollar. She can't tell her family that the relationship has no meaning until the wedding ceremony or else she doesn't win the million dollars. The conflict is that her fiancée is so obnoxious that her family rejected him and didn't want him to be part of the family. The girl's family tried to convince her to break up the marriage, but she didn't want to. She didn't want to loose the money. This causes a tear in the relationship between the girl and her family. The viewers might feel bad for the girl, but also get pleasure watching the conflict.
In conclusion, as long as people continue to watch reality Television, it is going to stay. The ratings will go up, ordinary people in the show will get instant fame, and guilty pleasure will get the viewers to continue to watch the show. More and more reality television with newer ideas is continuing to show up, like hells kitchen and many other shows. At this rate, it doesn't seem that reality Television hasn't hit its peak yet.