Research Project – The Reality of Reality Television

I love television. Some individuals suggest that the era of television is well and truly over, that the internet will replace it. This, I believe, will at some point be true. However, presently reality television is what I pour and invest my time into the most. Why you may ask? Because Survivor is my life.

Addicted. That would be the word I would attribute to myself in relation to reality television. It offers me a distraction and insight into other peoples lives, a diverse and entertaining list of personalities and drama, yes the most important part is drama (The Real Housewives or Dance Moms are great if you like this kind of stuff!).

My goals for the future also recognise my niche, quite abstract obsession. One day I hope to turn it into my full time job. To work in the reality television industry as a PR manager, social media influencer/promoter or even behind the camera – producing, assisting, whatever it may be. That’s the dream!

This project then therefore would mainly focus on how individuals interact with reality television and if they enjoy it, think it is over the top, scripted or avoid it entirely. I would be asking possible questions such as:

  • Do you enjoy reality television?
  • What is your favourite television/reality television show?
  • What do you do while watching?
  • Who do you watch with?
  • Is it too scripted or fake?
  • Why is reality television still so popular?
  • Do you believe it is real?

Reality television is a topic which starts a conversation, an audience will either support or reject a show if it is not entertaining enough- a recent example would be the recent season of X-Factor, Next Generation. I would like to know who is in this audience, why they watch these television shows and which ones they like and dislike. Having the overarching notion of “Is Reality Television, Reality?” would be my main focus for this research, in BCM 212. To do this I would take into account what shows people enjoyed and if they resonate with being ‘real’ or ‘not real’ from surveys, focus groups and even secondary sources. I would also branch out to the specifics of television shows, personalities and opinions from there.

The main ways in which I would gather and source information would be to create surveys or even organise interviews with the BCM 212 cohort or even focus groups with tutors involved also. Through these research methods I would get a large reach and understanding on a diverse amount of individuals. If I needed a large scope, I could use other students. Secondary research on this project would also be on the table, finding academic writings and statistics on reality television should be quite simple.

My dream has always been to appear on a reality television show such as Survivor as it tests the human psyche in a public arena much like society today. Some reality television shows such as Married at First Sight or The Bachelor do not have this type of depth and ‘reality’ to them and I am interested to see individuals differing opinions on them.

This project is something which I am completely involved in and feel quite excited and passionate about. Reality television is my reality, and the reality is that this research task will either provide me with a reality check or, at the very least, an insight to other peoples opinions.