Reality TV Rules

By: Philip Nicosia

Reality TV is the reality in television today. And the real thing about this is that it does give viewers a new kind of entertainment to watch out for every night. A wide variety of reality TV shows in different genres now exist around the world that there’s practically one in every channel that you turn to.

The uniqueness of reality TV programs lies in its unscripted format. This makes it easy for viewers to relate to the various situations being shown on television that involves ordinary people and not professional actors or celebrities. The program formats also vary from the game or quiz shows, dating shows, makeover shows, real life challenges shows as well as singing and dancing shows. However, although the formats may differ, the common denominator is the elimination process with one winner being declared in the end and getting a huge sum of money as the grand prize.

If you think that reality TV only began in the recent years, think again. As early as the 1940s, there was already a television show that showed people in candid situations via “Candid Camera” hosted by Allen Funt. The show, which featured ordinary people who reacted to pranks, was said to be the “grandfather of reality TV.” In the 1950s, game shows were on air to include Beat the Clock and Truth or Consequences.

However, the kind of reality TV that we see these days was influenced by a number of television shows back in the late 1980s and 1990s. An example is COPS which began in 1989 showing police officers arresting criminals while being videotaped. Since then, unique reality TV shows have appeared on the small screen.

Among the most popular are the modern reality game shows. Participants here compete against each other while they are being filmed on a video camera. Normally, there’s an elimination process such that from the original number of participants, one is ousted from the game after a certain period of time or after a particular challenge. The game takes place in a studio over a period of time until only one contestant is left who naturally ends up the winner. Examples of this type are the Weakest Link, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Deal or No Deal, Fear Factor and Dog Eat Dog. The famous Amazing Race also falls in this category although the game show features participants (in pairs) in various locations as their challenges take them to the different parts of the world.

Another reality show that has gained much viewership is the Big Brother series which involves ordinary people living together in one house for a specific number of days. Depending on their obedience to the house rules and other circumstances, the participants are gradually eliminated until only one remains. With this reality TV show, viewers get a glimpse of how the housemates of different personalities live inside the house from sunup to sundown without television and stereo. Their ability to adjust to their housemates away from their usual company of family and friends are really put to the test. Viewers are also involved as they get to vote for their favorite participant during the entire series. Great rewards are at stake here including a huge sum of money as well as a chance to become celebrities in their own country.

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