In previous class discussions we have talked about both commercial and noncommercial media and how there success is measured. We determined that commercial is based of profit and noncommercial depends upon meeting the people’s needs. But how do we determine if a show is actually “good” (that is, dramatic) or “bad”? Are dramatic shows successful at meeting people’s needs and or making profit?
On page 76, Grindstaff asks, “How, then, to guarantee good (that is, dramatic) television using ordinary people”. In her response she mentions that traditionally producers look for potential conflicts to get rise out of the viewers. The encouragement of confrontational situations is present in both talk and reality shows. Grindstaff then goes off to say that there can be major negative consequences that may occur between the “ordinary” guests. For example, conflict can allow participants to get to out of control and unable to manage along with quitting the show. Which would not typically be a positive outcome for the production itself. In addition, both reality and talk shows are considered to be successful because the producer relies on “everyday life skills of emotion management” (p.76). The average viewer is able to relate to the participants on a more “real” and intimate level.
Moving on, I defiantly believe that conflict is a major factor that will determine a reality or talk shows success. However, most reality shows must also contain attractive people, not so attractive people, partying, sex, and alcohol for it to be “good”. In today’s media sex and alcohol sell, and it is portrayed heavily in popular shows like Jersey Shore and Real World. Sex and alcohol seem to always perpetuate confrontations, so there presence is very significant. Would a show like Jersey Shore be successful without sex and alcohol? It would be interesting to watch a reality show that is substance free, and practices abstinence. Looking at other shows such as Survivor and or talent oriented shows where sex and alcohol is not present. Conflict stems from the survival of the fittest; one must do everything in their power to be the best.
In all, presence of confrontational situations do make a reality or talk show “good”. In the past few years we have whiteness both commercial and noncommercial success within dramatic productions.
Discussion Questions: Christian Homlish
1. How much power and authority do producers actually have within reality TV? Are producers looking for cast members to shape the show they have preplanned in their head? Or Do they actually allow the participants to shape the direction of the show?
2. What is the average production cost for reality shows? Who pays for what? Do the participants have to pay for anything during the time of filming?
3. What has been your favorite show that you have work on and or produced?