Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

What's real about reality television?


Scott J. Weiland and Kaitlyn Dunbar

Reality Television may not be as real as some might be led to believe. Ventre reported that MTV’s reality television show “The Real World: Skeletons” and its content is influenced by producers. Is it possible that this statement accurately describes many reality series? Is it possible that some reality programming is scripted? More importantly, how does the television viewing audience perceive reality television? Do viewers perceive such programs to be candid and unscripted? Why do people watch reality television? The purpose of this case study was to uncover perceptions of reality television as portrayed through social media, particularly via Twitter. This study is significant because it uncovers viewer perceptions about reality television that suggest reality television lacks reality and that viewers of reality television should not assume that such programs are unscripted and spontaneous. It may even encourage thoughtful reflection upon the ethics behind alleged manipulation of reality television content.


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