By popular request, the May #CVTweetup has been moved to Thursday, May 13.
Still at 6 p.m. at Bourre Lounge in Waterloo.
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It is something that most of us watch everyday. It can usually be found from seven to ten each evening, and all you have to do is flip around on the channels to find one. This is reality television, and it is very popular with people all around the world specifically in America. So what exactly is reality television, how popular is it, and what kind of critism has it drawn from people. Reality television is a genre of television programming that is supposedly unscripted and presents dramatic or humorous situations. It also involves documentaries of actual events, and always uses ordinary people rather than actors. Although television has existed for many years, the term reality television is typically applied to shows produced only since the year 2000. According to an article on answers.com, reality television is said to have began in 1948 with the popular show Candid Camera. It showed pranks being played on unsuspecting people and has very popular. Reality TV took another advance in 1954 with the Miss America pagent in which the winner became a national celebrity. Another 1954 show called Nightwatch showed the daily work of California police officers. This show paved the way for later modern day shows such as COPS and A&E’s The First 48. In 1973, another big reality show came out this time from PBS. The show was called An American Family, and showed a family going through a divorce. According to an April 2007 article in People Magazine, today’s modern reality television shows such as MTV’s the Real World or CBS’s Big Brother were inspired by a 1991 Dutch show called Nummer 28. The show involved putting several people that did not know each other in the same environment for an extended period of time, and recording the drama that resulted. These shows often show people in private rooms confessing to what they did or what they think about other people, and also have a heavy use of soundtrack music. So what types of reality television are there? There is documentary style television in which the camera and audience are passive viewers into the life of a person going about their daily life. A special living environment show is when members of the show are placed in a living environment with people they do not know. This type of reality TV is very popular and accounts for some of the most viewing on select TV networks. Professional activities programs are very popular on networks such as FOX, A&E, TLC, and the Discovery Channel. These shows show people in their place of work and the day-to day activities that go along with their job. These shows include Miami Ink, the First 48, COPS, Deadliest Catch, and American Chopper. Elimination shows are also very popular with viewers in America. They often combine many elements of reality television to create a very suspenseful environment. They involve people that are competing for a large prize almost always a large sum of money. People are voted out by their fellow players until only one person remains who wins the prize. They involve documentary style taping and the members of the show are under constant surveillance from hidden cameras or microphones. Some shows are less dramatic and involve people simply answering trivia questions and receiving a larger amount of money for each correct answer question answered. Examples of this include Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune. Some shows in this category involve setting a goal for contestants to achieve while competing against other people. Popular shows include NBC’s The Biggest Loser in which contestants are put on the show and asked to loose weight. Money does not always have to be the grand prize in a game show. Sometimes the grand prize can be love. This is the case in shows such as the Bachelor where women compete for the bachelor’s heart. In other shows, the grand prize could be a top notch and well respected show. The Apprentice is a prime example of this where entranapeneuars compete for a chance to be apart of Donald Trump’s real estate fortune. Others include Hell’s Kitchen where contestants must use their cooking skills to compete for a high paying executive chef position at a nice restaurant in Los Angeles. Some shows show how teams compete while renovating homes in the show Trading Spaces. In this show, teams are chosen to renovate their neighbor’s homes and they must hope that they do a good job. Reality television shows have always been very popular with America’s primetime television viewers but they have also always attracted controversy about the meaning that they convey. Some shows have faced critism of having the shows scripted ahead of time and having the plot laid out for the contestants. One popular network Video Hits 1 or VH1 has actually aired programming about the misleading tricks of reality TV producers. Their show Reality TV Secrets Revealed aired in 2004. One element of reality TV that is applied to almost every show is humiliation. Many people feel that people enjoy watching these shows strictly to see others get humiliated. Entertainment Weekly, a pop culture magazine, recently asked, “Do we watch reality television for precious insight into the human condition? Many think that people simply watch these shows to help themselves feel better about their own life. “There is a sub-set of Reality TV that can only be described as Shame TV because it uses humiliation as its core appeal.” That is the opinion of media analysist Tom Alderman. As you can see, there is much debate about the content of reality TV. Reality television is an unscripted form of television in which there are no actors, only ordinary people. The audience is set in the form of looking in on other people’s lives. Reality TV shows come in many forms from game to documentary style shows. Reality television has attracted a large audience over the years and is very popular with TV viewers. It has also come across critism from people who say that its content is useless. Reality television has dominated primetime television for years, and will most likely continue to do so for years to come.
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