It’s a Reality TV World…


Zendaya & Val Chmerovskiy perform an Argentine Tango on “Dancing With The Stars.” – Photo Courtesy of ABC.

To say that reality TV is ubiquitous is an understatement. The facts don’t lie in the numbers. On June 18th, NBC’s hit-singing show “The Voice” lead the pack that night in viewership with 12.7 million viewers.  Reality TV powerhouses Cat Deely (“So You Think You Can Dance), Jeff Probst (“Survivor”), and Mark Cuban (“Shark Tank”) sat down with “LA Times” reporter, Yvonnes Villarreal, to explain why they think reality programming works.

“Usually the star of ‘Survivor’ is its format,” says host Jeff Probst. The familiarity of the shows’ structure draws people in.  New things must be added to spice things up and keep audiences interested, but overall, the format remains a staple of reality tv’s longevity in television.

Viewers love stability, and they also love something “wholesome.” Watching TV is like going to movies. The experience is heightened when family or friends can participate together. Boundaries have become a lot more loose on scripted programs.  Yes, not all reality TV are appropriate. However, shows like “Dancing With The Stars,” “American Idol,” and “The Voice” are still popular shows amongst family groups.

Cat Deely makes an interesting point when she comments on the large influence of reality television.  “What people really connect with are the human stories. It’s the human elements. It’s the ‘Will They? Won’t They?’ It’s the ‘Can They Do It?’,” says Deely.  Paul Thomas Mitchell moved the crowd on “AGT” when he poured his story about his mother’s abandonment and drug-addicted family. His original song was a heart-wrenching moment and won over all the judges sending him to the Vegas rounds.

A good story wins over a mass of people. They are hard to find. People just want to see dreams come true in a struggling economy. Is reality TV scripted? Sure… Can it be frustrating and disappointing sometimes? Yes… but in the words of Jeff Probst, “I’m investing in process of watching a dream be born or killed.”

Click here for a link to the roundtable discussion.

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