Reality Television: The New Form of Entertainment

Topics: Reality television, Television, Television program Pages: 7 (1575 words) Published: May 4, 2014

Reality Television - The New Form of Entertainment
Cathy Peifer
Com 156
Jenny Mark
Reality Television - The New Form of Entertainment
With the explosion of reality television shows on almost every television network, are the shows real or created for entertainment purposes only? Since watching television has become a part of almost everyone’s daily lives, reality television are also becoming a part of daily lives’ because they are watched on just about every network system available on the air. Reality television shows have seemed to capture the attentions of the viewers, but are they depicting actual, real life situations or are these shows created mainly for entertainment purposes only? Are the viewers of reality television shows being influenced by watching these types of shows or are they just bored with their own lives and looking for pure entertainment of how others supposedly live their lives? These are some questions that will be addressed throughout this essay. Reality television began coming into our homes in 1948 with the introduction of Allen Funts’ Candid Camera followed by the show Truth or Consequences. According to Charles B Slocum, WGAW Assistant Director, “both of these two pioneering series created artificial realities to see how ordinary people would respond.” These shows introduced a new form of entertainment into our homes not knowing what a huge success they would be and the influence that it would have on todays’ society. Those shows are considered very tame by todays’ standards of reality television and the proof is what they are doing on the shows today. There are television series about contestants trying to win a recording contract through singing, redneck towing companies stopping at nothing to get that repossession, defendants and plaintiffs arguing their cases in front a real judge without a lawyer and strangers spending a summer together in a quiet, quaint fishing village behaving in a different manner than how the residents actually live their lives there. There are many different versions of what is categorized as reality television, but most of them do not show how ordinary people would react to a situation. Most of these shows are only vague depictions of reality as most people know it. There are some real facts in reality television that most people overlook or never give a second thought. The budgets for most of these shows are minimal compared to those of a regular sitcom such as Everybody Loves Raymond. Actor and comedian Ray Romano was receiving around $2 million dollars per 30 minute episode (Dale Peck) to portray the main character in this popular sitcom. Add that to the budget along with salaries for Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle and the many other actors that are on the show and you have a pretty hefty salary just for the actors. These large sums are usually earned back in syndication. Players and/or actors on reality shows do not request the fees like professional actors have received in the past several years. In fact, most people shown on these short, 13 week series are indeed acting, but they are not professional actors. This is mainly because the shows are not in syndication (Atlantic Monthly, November 2006) and have a short span of viewing life on television. These types of shows are hard to syndicate because most people know the results because of media hype, friends talking and curiosity of knowing what happened. There are some reality shows that we just know cannot be totally real. For example, Lizard Lick Towing is a reality show based on the daily lives of Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery Company employees in the town of Lizard Lick, North Carolina. The actors on the show such as the owner Ronnie Shirley, his wife Aimee and Ronnie’s right hand man Bobby Brantley are using their real names. Most everybody that likes this show are drawn to the southern redneck ways that are portrayed. While this information is true, we...

References: Godfrey, A. (April 21, 2013). Lizard Lick Towing Boss Arrested in 2008 with 2013 update on Bobby Brantley. Retrieved from
Lizard Lick Towing. (2014). Retrieved from
Slocum, C. B. (2014). Writers Guild of America, West. Retrieved from
Writers Guild of America, West
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