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World of Reality Television [1]

 File:The Up series DVD.jpg

Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors. Although the genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term reality television is most commonly used to describe programs of this genre produced since 2000. Documentaries and nonfictional programming such as news and sports shows are usually not classified as reality shows. The genre covers a wide range of programming formats, from game or quiz shows which resemble the frantic, often demeaning shows produced in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s (such as Gaki no tsukai), to surveillance- or voyeurism-focused productions such as Big Brother. Reality television frequently portrays a modified and highly influenced form of reality, utilizing sensationalism to attract viewers to generate advertising profits. Participants are often placed in exotic locations or abnormal situations, and are sometimes coached, to act in certain scripted ways by off-screen “story editors” or “segment producers,” with the portrayal of events and speech manipulated and contrived to create an illusion of reality through editing and other post-production techniques   History   1940s–1950s Precedents for television that portrayed people in unscripted situations began in the 1940s. Debuting in 1948, Allen Funt’s Candid Camera, (based on his previous 1947 radio show, Candid Microphone), broadcast unsuspecting ordinary people reacting to pranks. It has been called the “granddaddy of the reality TV genre.” Debuting in the 1950s, game shows Beat the Clock and Truth or Consequences  involved contestants in wacky competitions, stunts, and practical jokes. In 1948, talent search shows Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts featured amateur competitors and audience voting. The Miss America Pageant, first broadcast in 1954, was a competition where the winner achieved status as a national celebrity. The radio series Nightwatch (1954–1955), which tape-recorded the daily activities of Culver City, California police officers, also helped pave the way for reality television. The series You Asked For It (1950–1959), in which viewer requests dictated content, was an antecedent of today’s audience-participation reality TV elements, in which viewers cast votes to help determine the course of events.

1960s–1970s

First broadcast in the United Kingdom in 1964, the Granada Television series Seven Up!, broadcast interviews with a dozen ordinary seven-year olds from a broad cross section of society and inquired about their reactions to everyday life. Every seven years, a film documented the life of the same individuals in the intervening years, titled 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, etc. The series was structured simply as a series of interviews with no element of plot. However, it did have the then-new effect of turning ordinary people into celebrities.
Andy Warhol’s 1966 film Chelsea Girls showed various of Warhol’s acquaintances being filmed by a camera with no direction given; the Radio Times Guide to Film 2007 stated that the film was “to blame for reality television.” The first reality show in the modern sense may have been the 12-part 1973 PBS series An American Family, which showed a nuclear family going through a divorce; unlike many later reality shows, it was more or less documentary in purpose and style. In 1974 a counterpart program, The Family, was made in the UK, following the working class Wilkins family of Reading. Another forebear of modern reality television were the late 1970s productions of Chuck Barris: The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Gong Show, all of which featured participants who were eager to sacrifice some of their privacy and dignity in a televised competition. One Man and His Dog was a British Television series which began in 1976 featuring the participants of sheepdog trials.  

1980s–1990s

Reality television as it is currently understood can be directly linked to several television shows that began in the late 1980s and early 1990s. COPS, which first aired in the spring of 1989 and came about partly due to the need for new programming during the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike,showed police officers on duty apprehending criminals; it introduced the camcorder look and cinéma vérité feel of much of later reality television. The series Nummer 28, which aired on Dutch television in 1991, originated the concept of putting strangers together in the same environment for an extended period of time and recording the drama that ensued. Nummer 28 also pioneered many of the stylistic conventions that have since become standard in reality television shows, including a heavy use of soundtrack music and the interspersing of events on screen with after-the-fact “confessionals” recorded by cast members, that serve as narration. One year later, the same concept was used by MTV in their new series The Real World and Nummer 28 creator Erik Latour has long claimed that The Real World was directly inspired by his show.  However, the producers of The Real World have stated that their direct inspiration was An American Family.

According to television commentator Charlie Brooker, this type of reality television was enabled by the advent of computer-based non-linear editing systems for video (such as those produced by Avid Technology) in 1989. These systems made it easy to quickly edit hours of video footage into a usable form, something that had been very difficult to do before. (Film, which was easy to edit, was too expensive to shoot enough hours of footage with on a regular basis.)

The Swedish TV show Expedition Robinson, created by TV producer Charlie Parsons, which first aired in 1997 (and was later produced in a large number of other countries as Survivor), added to the Nummer 28/Real World template the idea of competition and elimination, in which cast members/contestants battled against each other and were removed from the show until only one winner remained. (These shows are now sometimes called elimination shows.)

Changing Rooms, a British TV show that began in 1996, showed couples redecorating each others’ houses, and was the first reality show with a self-improvement or makeover theme.

2000s

Reality television saw an explosion of global popularity starting in the early 2000s. Two reality series – Survivor and American Idol – have been the top-rated series on American television for an entire season. Survivor led the ratings in 2001–02, and Idol has topped the ratings three consecutive years (2004–05, 2005–06, and 2006–07). The shows Survivor, the Idol series, The Amazing Race, the America’s Next Top Model series, the Dancing With The Stars series, The Apprentice, “Fear Factor” and Big Brother have all had a global effect, having each been successfully syndicated in dozens of countries.

Currently there are at least two television channels devoted exclusively to reality television: Fox Reality in the United States, launched in 2005, and Zone Reality in the UK, launched in 2002. In addition, several other cable channels, such as Viacom’s MTV and NBC’s Bravo, feature original reality programming as a mainstay.  Mike Darnell, head of reality TV for the US Fox network, says that the broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox) “might as well plan three or four [reality shows] each season because we’re going to have them, anyway.”

During the early part of the 2000s, network executives expressed concern that reality-television programming was limited in its appeal for DVD reissue and syndication, but in fact DVDs for reality shows have sold briskly; Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, The Amazing Race, Project Runway, and America’s Next Top Model have all ranked in the top DVDs sold on Amazon.com. DVDs of The Simple Life have outranked scripted shows like The O.C. and Desperate Housewives; additionally, many reality shows have been successfully syndicated, including Fear Factor, The Amazing Race, Survivor, Wife Swap and America’s Next Top Model. COPS has had huge success in syndication, direct response sales and DVD. A FOX staple since 1989, COPS is, as of 2008, in its 21st season, having outlasted all competing scripted police shows. Another series that has seen wide success is “Cheaters”, which has been running for 10 seasons in the US and is syndicated in over 100 countries worldwide.

In 2007, according to the Learning and Skills Council, one in seven UK teenagers hopes to gain fame by appearing on reality television.

In April 2008, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced it will give its very first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality Show or Reality Competition on September 21. “Reality television has become such an integral part of television and our culture, so it only made sense for us to create this new highly competitive category,” TV academy Chairmen and CEO John Shaffner said in the announcement.

 Read :  Thai Reality Show and Its Happening,                                                         Type of Reality Show,                                                                                                            Reality Show in Thailand

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Source : Wikipedia.org

 

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