Essay on Reality Television Shows

In 1968 American artist Andy Warhol said ‘In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.’ The expression is normally linked to people in the entertainment industry and more recently related to those figures, involved in Reality TV.There is no exact definition of Reality Television and people also have different opinions of what it is. But it tends be a combination of genres such as: documentary, drama and many other genre’s depending on the type show. It can also be described as ‘ a hybrid of non-fiction and entertainment elements’.

Charlie Parsons, creator of the television show, Survivor defines reality TV as‘Shows containing producer created environments that control contestant behaviour’.But this definition does not include emergency services and police force programs such as Crimewatch or America’s Most Wanted.

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The reality show I am going to be analysing is ‘Made in Chelsea’ also known as MIC. The scripted reality series is a BAFTA award winning show that is broadcasted by E4 and first aired on the 9th May 2011.

Made in Chelsea was created as a posh alternative to The Only Way is Essex. You could call the two programme’s cousins to some extent.Made In Chelsea follows the lives of ‘rich kids’ and ‘socialites’ living in West London. Other featured locations include: Barcelona Cannes, Chamonix, Dubai, Finland, Marrakech, Paris, Saint Tropez, South Africa and Verbier.Made In Chelsea can be considered a ‘Lifestyle Reality’:‘Ordinary people and their lifestyles are transformed by experts, who make them extraordinary in lifestyle reality shows. It’s not the winning of a prize but the ‘reveal’ of the transformation that is the climax of the show. ‘It’s the reaction, not the action that matters,’ says Annette…

…rending this creates mass involvement on a national scale.‘Audience participation also proved to be an effective way of enticing viewers to become committed fans.’People enjoy the realness and entertainment of Reality TV. According to Skeggs and Wood (2012 p23) ‘It’s a catch-all category for a variety of different one-off programmes, series and formats that follows real people and celebrities and their everyday or out of the ordinary experience’

Jason Carbone, the executive producer of reality tv show ‘Tia and Tamera’ say

‘ You never know what the next reality television hit will be until it airs and the audience reacts. If there was a proven formula, someone would have patented it a long time ago. But what I can say, with absolute certainty, is that as long we continue to find unique characters with compelling stories, reality television isn’t going anywhere.’


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