Reality TV Magazine reports that Kenya Moore from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is facing assertions that she might have fed viewers a line. When being depicted as deeply mourning the death of a beloved pet dog, it has been suggested that this was a fake storyline. “Did the reality star fake Velvet’s death,” the publication wants to know.
What Spurs on the Possibility of Scripting in Reality TV
Examining the popularity of the medium, Penn State University suggests that the audience feedback is one metric that governs the popularity of a show. Twitter with its hashtag use is a hotbed for measurable responses. Even the suggestions and discussions claiming that shows like “American Idol” are rigged should be considered against this backdrop. Quoting Professor S. Shyam Sundar, the school explores the notion that reality TV gives audience members the illusion of becoming part of the action. Is it reasonable to suggest that program directors would tweak interactions to enthrall viewers week after week?
Is It All About the Marketing – to the Kids?
Yet perhaps being part of the action is not really the driving force behind reality television scripting any longer. What might have endeared the medium to the general audience is now a potentially significant money maker. In the Journal of Advertising Research, experts highlight that reality TV is among the most consumed television genres for preteens and teenagers. Figures suggest that 70 percent of teens have watched “American Idol.” Forty percent of preteens have watched “Survivor.”
Since this demographic has a $20-billion per year spending habit, the actions of reality television stars can have a huge influence on youngsters’ buying decisions. This would explain the product placement in shows like “Fear Factor” and “America’s Next Top Model,” the latter of which overwhelmingly appeals to the eight to 12 demographic.
The watershed moment arrives when researchers suggest that young viewers in search of excitement are less likely to become connected to a show. Is it possible that they can easily see through the potential scripting and get their thrills from sports instead? Or is it more likely that some story lines of reality shows are simply not dramatic or exciting enough for today’s youth?
Give It to me Straight: How Real is Reality TV?
Highbrow Magazine minces no words when it proclaims that the characters have “taken over the people playing them.” Perhaps the reality TV stars are not to blame for beginning to think up story lines that could conceivably happen to them – that would also be well received by audiences.
If you still do not believe that your favorite stars lied to you about reality TV, remember that Nicole Polizzi – aka Snooki – has come clean. Radar Online discusses how her “show was heavily scripted,” which came into play when she announced her pregnancy.