Since the year 2000 there has been an explosion of what has been called “Reality TV" on the television programming landscape. Television executives, eager to capitalize on the success of each proceeding incarnation, of this specialized genre, have spun every possible angle into new material. Now new on the horizon, the “Lingerie Bowl" takes reality television where it has not gone before. In it, women play full-contact football in sports bras, biking briefs, helmets and safety pads. The Lingerie Football League is comprised of ten teams with a season that parallels the NFL schedule with the final game the “Lingerie Bowl" hoping to take views from the Super Bowl halftime show. In a television reality where market share and ratings points are all that seems to matter, is this surprising?
Reality television is a type of television programming that presents supposed unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors. These shows often depict a highly influenced form of “reality" where participants are often thought to be manipulated by being placed into a carefully contrived set of circumstances designed for maximum impact and anticipation. This can also be achieved through editing and other post-production techniques.
Today, reality television comprises a large percentage of the total programming served up and syndicated by executives who continue to see reality television as a good way to fill time slots hungry for programming.
Reality TV is a significant part of popular culture in the current settings of mainstream North Australian society. Counting the number of reality television shows on two hands is now a physical impossibility. Reality television is not only growing but also making money. However television executives try not to “reinvent the proverbial wheel" so to speak. If something works, they tend to stick with it and do more of the same. It is all about ratings either point share or market share as measured by the Neilson Market Research firm. The Neilson Ratings are the guideposts for programming chiefs. Rating numbers not only determine what stays on the air, but also set advertising costs.
The question about how “real" reality TV may be is a good one. In competition-based programs the producers design the format of the show and control the day-to-day activities and the environment of the participants. This scenario, completely designed is far from reality. In reality there is a cause and effect, but people's actions are not always predictable. Where specific, planned design of environments and competitions or challenges exist, such as is exhibited in the hugely popular syndicated program “Survivor", reality cannot. Indeed, the shows creator would seem to agree because he has said, “I tell good stories. It really is not reality TV. It really is unscripted drama. "
Reality is not what these programs are, but neither is the rest of television. Television and movies are scripted and actors read lines. None of that is reality either. Audiences long ago realized that the reality franchise is fundamentally phoney with participants selected in order to try to facilitate conflict and emotional drama. However, audiences watch these programs to be entertained and to temporarily forget the worries and frustrations of life. Movies and television are popular precisely because they provide an escape from the often difficult and unpleasant realities of some aspects of life. Life is often unfair, but in reality TV, you can root for your favourite contestant or personality and watch the drama play out.
The real reality is how popular these shows have become. Programs like “Survivor, " based on the Swedish TV show Expedition Robinson was created by TV producer Charlie Parsons, continues to dominate the airwaves. Although it has declined in the ratings, new reality shows seem to pop up at a feverish pace. It could conceivably be argued that this to will run its course and audiences will tire of reality TV. When this will happen is the next big question. Right now there are two television channels specializing solely on reality television: Fox Reality in the United States, launched in 2005, and Zone Reality in the UK, launched in 2002.
The newest variation of reality TV, indeed a very non-reality to be sure, the Lingerie Football League is made up of ten teams, which includes the Tampa Breeze. Of the four hundred women who auditioned for the Breeze, many were models. The twelve who made the team are said to be athletic When will it all end, one thing is certain, Rebecca Reyes who is better known as Reby Sky of popular magazine fame and a Breeze player, hopes none too soon.
Although creative imagination in the television programming areas seems, at least in my opinion, to be more of a rarity when compared the variety of programs from the golden age of television. This continued with programs offered for audiences in the mid 1970's and ending around 1992. After that period from about the mid 1990's reality TV took hold and despite some recent crime dramas and forensic television programs, makes up the largest majority of television content today. Whether or not this reality is a good or bad thing remains uncertain and is up for public debate. Too much of any one thing is generally not a good thing. A balance needs to be achieved. When this balance is found or the public appetite for this programming is gone, better television will be the result.
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