Reality television is as American as the cheese wiz you put on your cheesesteak sandwich. It all started in the 1970s, when the Public Broadcasting Station aired a show about a family living in the Santa Barbara area (PBS). The show was meant to give the American people an idea that everyone goes though the same kind of family issues, no matter where you live, or who you are. Now today’s reality television has expanded way past just showing people that everyone’s 16 year old daughter sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night. But it is still reality, and its popularity has grown immensely. But has diversity played a part in what we, as the american people, want to see in our shows about real life?
Andy Cohen once said, “Ultimately, its not my job to judge the ‘Housewives’- we don’t editorialize on the show; we really leave it to the audience. We have a certain wink, which is the Bravo wink. We may linger on a shot or we may let something play out, but we leave it to you”. Cohen is basically the father of reality television. He has single handedly started an entire series of shows about housewives that live elaborate lives around the United States. The housewives are diverse in the since of the places that they are filmed. However, the cast of housewives for each particular setting is not that diverse. All of the Orange County Housewives are white and while occasionally their will be a housewife of Latina decent, she does not last more than one season. Andy Cohen has essential created a franchise that was new to the Bravo Network, but not new at all the Music Television channel.
MTV was looking for a way to make a new show that did not cost a lot to produce, but would make lots of money. The first start to the reality television explosion began around the mid 1990s, when an inexpensive show, fell into MTV’s lap. The show would revolve around a group of young adults in the New York City area that were just living life (History). The Real World took ordinary people, and let the whole world watch as the “cast” of ordinary people took on real life issues. Because this show revolved around real people, the “cast” was very diverse and had people from all walks of life. The cast of third season The Real World San Francisco had a young Cuban American man who was openly gay, and found out he was HIV positive (Lovannone). This young man made such an impact on the american people, that after his sudden passing President Bill Clinton spoke at his very public funeral. When The Real World Los Angeles hit our tv screens, we had a lot more diverse of a cast of characters. This cast shared more personal stories, and even showed a young African American women making the hard decision of whether she should get an abortion or not. Because of shows like this, the american people were exposed to issues that they maybe did not know a whole about. So while The Real World was entertaining, it also was very informative to its many young adult fans.
Reality television now a days has something for everyone. There are so many forms of reality tv, and the variety of shows out there is very diverse. If you are looking for naked people who are into survival, there is a show on Discover Channel for you. If you are looking for show about a man who is looking for the love of his life while dating eighteen other women all at the same time, ABC has a show for you. Reality Television is all around us, and many people believe that they would make “good tv”. If you think your family is messed up just watch another family on tv trying to find another sister wife, and you might just feel better about your own problems. When reality television first hit the main stream media it really was reality. Today reality television is kind of scripted, but not the same way Grey’s Anatomy is. Producers of shows on Bravo, and TLC tend to certain situations for their “cast” to be apart of. If the producers know that two housewives don’t particularly get along, they might have one of the wives put on a big party and invite all of the wives to sed party and just see what will go down.
There are many reality shows that have a diverse cast. But many of these diverse shows are on channels like FoodNetwork, and the Travel Channel. These channels do not make the show seem like it is reality, even though they interview real people, and go to real restaurants that are owned by real people. There are many shows on HGTV that are reality, that don’t seem like they are. However, many of the host of the shows like Fixer Upper, and My Lottery Dream Home are not very diverse. But many of the clients that the hosts work with are very diverse.
Diversity is all around us. And with so much of today being influenced by our screens, both in our pockets and in our homes, the world is becoming more and more aware of diversity. The shows we watch both reality and scripted are becoming more and more diverse. With reality television becoming more and more relative to todays people, we are able to see that reality can be more than just white people, throwing drinks and flipping tables. As the world is gaining more and more awareness of social issues reality television is becoming more relevant to the millennial generation. Reality tv started way back in the 1970s with the expectation of telling a story to the American people. While todays reality shows, aren’t all about the story it is clear that diversity plays a huge role in what we watch, and who we want to watch.
Berman, Judy. “Trashy Reality TV Is Back, And It’s Not Here to Play Nice.” Time, Time, 21 Feb. 2019, time.com/5534364/reality-tv-is-back/.
This article is goes over how reality tv has started to take over our main stream tv watching. It takes a major dive into Lindsay Lohan’s new MTV show. I will be using this article in my paper as a way to show what reality tv is like now a days. I believe this article is reliable because it comes from Time Magazine.
Iovannone, Jeffry J., and Jeffry J. Iovannone. “Pedro Zamora: Real World Activist.” Medium, Queer History For the People, 21 June 2018, medium.com/queer-history-for-the-people/pedro-zamora-real-world-activist-cf89c5e237ab.
This article talks about the life of one of the most influential Real World cast members.This article is important to my report because it shows how important this cast member made an impact on the world, and the people who watched the show. I think this article is reliable because the author is a founder of an LGBTQ rights website.
“MTV’s The Real World Leaves Hollywood.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 13 Nov. 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mtvs-the-real-world-leaves-hollywood.
This article talks about the start of MTV as a channel, and the show The Real World. This article is important because it talks about the start of the reality tv boom. I think this article is beneficial to my paper became it will help me understand the start to one of the most influential reality television show.
This article talks about the first reality show of its kind. The article goes over what kind of story the producers were working on showing its audience. I think this article is important because it talks about the real start of reality tv. I will be using this article as intro to my paper, while starting the conversation about reality television.
Ryan, Maureen, and Maureen Ryan. “Why TV Is Finally Embracing the Realities of Race.” Variety, Variety, 20 Jan. 2017, variety.com/2016/tv/features/television-race-diversity-ratings-1201712266/.
This article starts the conversation about how tv here in the US is changing. This article goes over more scripted shows, but talks about how making more diverse main stream tv, will eventually make its way to a more diverse set of reality tv show casts. I believe this article is reliable because I got it from the library database here at Crafton Hills College.