Reality TV Has Taken the World by Storm
by Brian Foden
Over the past two decades, the popularity of reality TV has exploded.
There are all kinds of reality programs, from talent contests to programs in which contestants compete against each other in cooking, fashion design, entrepreneurship, modeling, and dancing, among other themes. In terms of ratings for US TV shows, American Idol was one of the most popular reality TV shows of the 2012-2013 season. The format is simple, with a panel of judges rating the performances of singers who compete against each other. Every week a singer is voted off, and the winner is the last one standing.
A look at the other popular reality TV programs in America shows a strong desire among audiences for competitive talent shows. Dancing with the Stars, where famous people show off their dancing skills, and The Voice, which has a format similar to American Idol, are also highly rated programs. At the end of 2013, a different type of reality show became the most successful in the history of cable TV in the US. Duck Dynasty follows a family of rednecks that run a multimillion dollar company selling duck hunting merchandise.
The success of reality TV proves that there is a high demand for this form of entertainment, but the programs continue to draw harsh criticism. Critics argue that the shows don't actually portray reality because they place people in artificial situations with cameras that wouldn't normally be around. Some shows may even coach participants on how to act and what to say in order to create drama. Even so, reality TV has had a big impact around the world. For example in China, voting for their favorite singers is the only time its citizens can take part in any form of democracy.
真人实境秀的种类繁多，从才艺竞赛到参赛者于节目中针对如烹饪、时装设计、创业、模特儿还有舞蹈等主题互相竞争。就美国电视节目的收视率而言，《美国偶像》在 2012 到 2013 年度这一季是最受欢迎的真人实境节目之一。这个节目的安排十分简单，有一组评审会为相互竞争的歌手表现评分。每一周都会有一位参赛者被淘汰，而留到最后的人就是赢家。