What is our fixation with reality television? America seems to have officially changed their viewing pleasures from scripted television programming to “reality” television. I put the word “reality” in quotes because how real is “reality” television – not very real at all; but to the public, it is.
Yes, “reality” television has swept the nation. The variety of reality TV available has grown exponentially within the last several years. American Idol really flipped the world on its backside. The many types of shows appeal to a wide range of audiences. From Keeping Up With The Kardashians to Swamp People, form Hoarders to So You Thing You Can Dance, virtually every demographic can be tapped into one of these reality shows.
Not only does this phenomenon give power to a new kind of celebrity, but also gives the public the right to imitate these newfound celebrities because of their “real” actions. It is honestly scary to think that we give people like Mike “The Situation” celebrity status because of his drunken escapades on the Jersey Shore; however, this new kind of celebrity gives the more traditional actor celebrity a better name considering they are actually earning their status through hard work (e.g., George Clooney).
Another frightening happening is that the people watching these “reality” television shows get younger and younger, especially the ones watching MTV or VHI. These shows do not set good examples for young people because they are still learning. Watching reality television in this case tends to be a bad influence. Imitation of these so-called celebrities leads children to act accordingly. Not only children, but also adults are influenced.
I doubt this phenomenon will end in the near future. There seems to be some sort of “reality” programming on every network. Some brands are based on this reality concept and the fact that they are adhering to what the public wants makes them strong. You have to actively listen to what your audience likes and “reality” TV is the answer in some cases.