The Definition of Reality Tv Genre

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Defining a genre now I think is becoming more difficult as many genres are being intertwined and are trying to provide the element of being new which makes it harder to decide what show goes under what genre or sub genre. The genre that will try to be defined with-in this essay is reality TV.

Reality TV I suppose with many genres always try and find their unique selling point meaning there are many elements that go in to make something different or adapt what they have to make it better.

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For example most shows need a catchy name, a host preferably someone that is well known to help bring in more of an audience to watch the show, conflict, drama. Lastly with many of them whether person is ‘normal/real’ or famous, audiences tend to love that the individual goes on a journey, it is likely that they can relate to them or feel some sort of emotion towards the journey they have when on.

Charlie Parson says “the following definitions are reproduced for analysis: Reality television shows are those shows that contain producer related ‘producer created environments that control contestants’ behaviour’.” (Parson Charlie, creator of survivor series,2005).

I agree with what he has said to a certain extend because a lot of shows are like this you literally just have to watch them to know that they are scripted whether it be from what they are saying, the setting or location or even scene that is played out. Examples of shows that do this Made in Chelsea and TOWIE

However not all shows are a new show called The Masked Singer (2020) does the opposite basically they hire 12 celebrities to go behind excessive, and random disguises to sing while a panel of judges have to guess and identify each individual based on clues some true and some to put the judges off the scent if they start picking the right people.

The singing is obviously key as it is within the title. So why am I saying this because producers aren’t controlling the contestant’s behaviour on every show. In this one I would say they are controlling their actions more than their behaviour in order for them not to reveal who they are until the end of the show.

Reality TV I believe is seen to be the most stereotypical genre in regards to its audience Misha Kavka says that “Reality TV went from cheap programming apparently aimed at the ‘lowest common denominator’’ meaning that it is for people of a lower class and that it is of a younger generation that tends to watch these reality shows. (Kavka Misha 2012)

This is not necessarily true there are a range of reality shows whether its competition, social experiment, ‘real life’ and so on, it’s not just young people that watch this. For example I’m a celebrity get me out of here (2002-present), big brother (2000-2018) are just some of the shows where it’s not based on trying to attract young people to come watch there are a variety of ages that go on to said programmes which shows that it is not just young people that watch it.

I’m a Celebrity according to the guardian they suggest “the premise is simple and unchanged: gather celebrities who are either on the last legs of their careers, or those who have only just begun” (Kalia 2019). Again this is not necessarily true because a few of the 2019 contestants were very well known and still on TV for example Kate Garraway was and still is presenting TV so didn’t really need money or for it to help her job. Roman Kemp is currently still on TV and radio before doing this show.

Caitlyn Jenner is part one of the biggest known families in the media around the world eg the Kardashians so I don’t think her career needed much help. Finally Nadine Coyle who was well known for being in Girls Aloud, having her own solo career and was still on TV in her lead up to her jungle stint.

Not all of them go into help boost their following or career, some have give reasons to why they did it. Nadine said “I want to become a braver version of myself”.  (‘Nadine Leaves The Jungle! | I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’)

Caitlyn reasons for doing the show was that she done it years ago as Bruce and want to see how she reacts as Caitlyn, also joking its too loose a few pounds “the only reason I’m going back is to lose a few pounds”. (‘Meet… Caitlyn Jenner | I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’).Both Roman and Kate did it to conquer their fears and putting themselves in a place you don’t want to be in.

To conclude this essay the general theory and discussions around the definition of this genre aren’t really all true as there are many shows that don’t use said assumptions that are there which is what I hope comes across when reading this essay.





  1. PARSON, C.
  2. Reality Television or Television Reality Shows: Forms, Genres and Modes.
  3. In-text: ( Parson Charlie, creator of survivor series, 2005).
  4. Your Bibliography:’Reality Television Or Television Reality Shows: Forms, Genres And Modes.’. Springjournals.Net, 2015, Accessed 18 Feb 2020.
  5. Kavka, Misha. Reality TV. Edinburgh University Press, 2012. JSTOR, Accessed 18 Feb 2020
  6. Kalia, Ammar. “Make Them Retch! Why I’m A Celebrity Is the Only Reality TV for Our Times.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 28 Nov. 2019, Accessed 18 Feb 2020
  8. In-text: (‘Nadine Leaves The Jungle! | I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’)
  9. Your Bibliography: ‘Nadine Leaves The Jungle! | I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’. Youtube, 2019, Accessed 18 Feb 2020.
  11. In-text: (‘Meet… Caitlyn Jenner | I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’)
  12. Your Bibliography: ‘Meet… Caitlyn Jenner | I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’. Youtube, 2019, Accessed 18 Feb 2020.

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