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Reality TV: Our Daily Dose of Moral Irreverence?
It has been estimated well over 320 reality programs of various genres have evolved over the past 20 years. There’s been everything from the housemates on Jersey Shore to the competitive spectacles of Survivor, the Bachelor and even the Biggest Loser. There are the inspiring dream come true shows like Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and the slice of life shows that take us inside the everyday lives of modern men looking to make fortunes in the wilds of Alaska as seen in Gold Rush.
When did they become such a staple in our popular culture? Most people will admit to watching at least one reality show. Countless studies have beendone to figure out exactly why we watch. What is the holding power?
Consider the points made by Television Executive and TED contributor Lauren Zalaznick.
Reality TV, as a genre, isn’t likely to go away. It has evolved to be part of our culture. It’s clear that 'why we watch' is never going to be an easy answer. Maybe we actually love reality shows because they are really mini–dramas – with the exception that the people are very real people with very real lives.
We will have to see what the lasting effects are for the stars of our favorite shows. The distinct difference in the platform is that these characters cannot walk away from their roles as a sitcom actor might. And in letting the world in to glimpse their day-to-day reality – it may have cost them their future.
"I knew it was time to get off of reality TV when someone asked me if I sang as well as acted."
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