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Reality TV

Mark Andrejevic


Reality TV became an increasingly prevalent global entertainment →  Genre in the 1990s and early 2000s. The popularity of reality shows with producers is due in large part to the fact that they represent a cheap, flexible form of programming that is easily customizable to different audiences and lends itself to forms of interaction and participation associated with new communication technologies (→  Interactivity, Concept of ; Digitization and Media Convergence ). As an entertainment genre that relies on the unscripted interactions of people who are not professional actors, reality TV develops and discards formats at a rapid rate, parasitizing the permutations available in everyday life – including everything from romance to warfare – for raw material. Reality-based formats can be differentiated from →  news and other informational or documentary programming insofar as their focus is not on bringing the public realm of politics into the private sphere, but on publicizing the private and intimate (→  Television News ; Tabloidization ). The emphasis is not on matters of public interest for the purpose of democratic participation, but on therapy and social experimentation for the purpose of diversion (→  Enjoyment/Entertainment Seeking ; Media Democracy ). Reality formats make their claim to reality on the basis of their lack of scriptwriters and professional actors, but they ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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