Dirty Tricks Used to Boost Reality Shows

Dirty Tricks Used by or in Reality Shows

CHEAP, CRAZY AND FALLEN FROM GRACE
CHEAP, CRAZY AND FALLEN FROM GRACE | Source

Lots of Dirty Tricks!

Reality television - What did we do to deserve you?!
Reality television - What did we do to deserve you?! | Source
Reality going overtime to pick up extra viewers.
Reality going overtime to pick up extra viewers. | Source
It is a wonder Amazing Grace hasn't been used on some Reality show.
It is a wonder Amazing Grace hasn't been used on some Reality show. | Source
Familiar songs and theme music turned ugly because it is now on a Reality show.
Familiar songs and theme music turned ugly because it is now on a Reality show. | Source
Using material from other, older television shows.
Using material from other, older television shows. | Source
Controversy can come in many forms.
Controversy can come in many forms. | Source
Invite a member of the KKK onto a 'reality' show and watch the fireworks!
Invite a member of the KKK onto a 'reality' show and watch the fireworks! | Source
Attack Charles Darwin on a 'reality' show and watch the fireworks!
Attack Charles Darwin on a 'reality' show and watch the fireworks! | Source
Make the Grinch out to be some kind of hero at Christmas and watch the fireworks!
Make the Grinch out to be some kind of hero at Christmas and watch the fireworks! | Source
Go for an old fashioned book burning. That's sure to upset someone and you really don't want people who can read hanging around anyway.
Go for an old fashioned book burning. That's sure to upset someone and you really don't want people who can read hanging around anyway. | Source
If someone isn't smart enough to get in out of the rain invite them onto a 'reality' show.
If someone isn't smart enough to get in out of the rain invite them onto a 'reality' show. | Source
Human dodos flopping around on 'reality' television with soft soap on their tails is now rather typical.
Human dodos flopping around on 'reality' television with soft soap on their tails is now rather typical. | Source
Inviting a woman warrior onto a 'reality' show might help with the ratings.
Inviting a woman warrior onto a 'reality' show might help with the ratings. | Source
Punch and Judy. The battle of the sexes can be gold on a 'reality' show.
Punch and Judy. The battle of the sexes can be gold on a 'reality' show. | Source
Very old cliches have their place on reality shows.
Very old cliches have their place on reality shows. | Source
Go primitive but be sure to invent the form of primitive you are going for.
Go primitive but be sure to invent the form of primitive you are going for. | Source
In your 'reality' show put as many metaphorical sharks in the water as possible.
In your 'reality' show put as many metaphorical sharks in the water as possible. | Source
Fly a flag that is losing its popularity and see what happens. Better yet get someone to defend it.
Fly a flag that is losing its popularity and see what happens. Better yet get someone to defend it. | Source

Dirty Tricks Used to Boost Reality Shows by Rod Marsden

There are a number of tried and true tricks used to boost so-called Reality shows that may be legal but are nonetheless dirty.

1. Make Sure the Show Runs Overtime.

By having a Reality show run overtime you are going to get people watching the show who wouldn't normally be watching it. There are people who have become hooked on one reality program or another through this device. Be sure though not to go overtime by the same amount of time every time you use this trick.

Unpredictability can be an aid. If you go overtime by ten minutes one night you might like to try going overtime by twenty minutes or half an hour the next night. Also have nights when you don't go overtime at all. Oh, and when the finale of the season comes up do go overtime by an hour or more. You might just be able to pick up viewers for your next season.

2. Use Theme Music or Song from a Previous Non-Reality Show.

This device may annoy viewers who loved the non-Reality show but it will get the kids who like to rag on the past. Oh, if the music or song is pretty old you should be able to pick up the copyright option to use it fairly cheap. Some studio executives might even think that you will rouse new interest in the non-Reality show by using the music or song.

3. Create Controversy.

Try to pick people for your reality show who are not likely to get on very well with each other or who are competing showoffs. You need conflict that looks spontaneous or as close to spontaneous as you can get.

If you can play a race card or a sexist card to get the viewers talking all the better. Oh, and if your compare or judges are explosive or just plain nasty then you can use this explosiveness and nastiness to create controversy. Oh, and do use sex like having a woman shave another woman's pubic hair on camera if you can get away with it and not have the show closed down.

4. Have Someone be Unfair to Contestants.

This admittedly taps into the area of being controversial but in a special way. You need an interesting villain so how about a judge who is super critical in areas where he or she should not be super critical.

How about a judge who picks on a girl singer because she is wearing braces on her teeth? How about a judge who picks on someone because they are a little overweight when he or she is no Twiggy?

How about a judge that upsets a singer so much that she goes off and commits suicide? Dirty, rotten things to do? You bet but nowadays they seem to work. There is no such thing as nurturing talent anymore. Singers and dancers in 'Reality' shows are there to be sacrificed for ratings.

5. The Phone in.

Have the audience phone in to either keep people on the show or get rid of them. Teenagers who feel powerless in their everyday lives can feel a surge of power if someone they vote off actually left or someone they voted to stay actually stayed. Oh, and do charge them as much as you can for the call. Hey! Why not make money off these phone-ins.

6. Play Games.

Invent games people can play in front of the camera. The sillier the game the better. Here you are appealing to viewers who are not likely to be rocket scientists.

7. Run Heaps of Ads.

Run heaps of ads for the show and include moments from the show that will either annoy or provoke non-Reality viewers. By doing this you get the Reality viewers defending their show and maybe turning the non-Reality people into reality watchers. Also in some ads remind people to phone people on or off if it is that sort of Reality program.

If there is going to be some nastiness or bad temper on the show do take a snippet of that and use it in an ad. If bad manners of any other sort is to be in the show perhaps run a snippet of that.

8. Success Outside the Show.

Do try to get people who have appeared or who are appearing on your show on the news or on current affairs type programs. Get them also into local clubs if that is at all possible and in the newspapers and on radio. If one of them looks cross-eyed at a reporter try to make this incident into a really, really big story.

9. Give them topics to talk about and watch them struggle.

Give contestants in house or flat settings difficult questions to answer or questions with obvious politically correct answers and see what happens. It doesn't matter if the people have no idea of what they are talking about. A percentage of the people listening won't have any idea either. Hey! You might have a budding intellectual among your cast you haven't weeded out and now is the time to weed him or her out.

10. Battle of the Sexes.

Have contests between men and women, boys and girls. Here the games may be used. If it is a case of who will eat the bug, the man or the woman, all the better. Hey! The woman might be the one to eat the bug without throwing up. In the contest of who can start a fire without matches or cigarette lighter the man might win.It doesn't really matter. Then have a big debate about the whole thing.

11. News and Current Affairs style boosts.

If you can get your reality show mentioned on the news at all it is better than a free ad. Also if you can get one or more members of your reality show playing around on a current affairs style show this is also good. Current affairs style programs are always looking for tidbits and are happy to grab the manufactured kind when better tidbits are slow coming their way.

12. Let the President or Prime Minister have their say.

If American get the current president to endorse your reality show in some way. It hasn't been done with the current president but it was done with the one before him. Even if he just mentions your show in passing that will do.

If British or Australian get the current Prime Minister to do the same. Even an unkind word from the leader of your country could be gold in the ratings. Imagine being known as the bad boy reality show that even made the President or the P.M. wince or maybe even throw up. Maybe get the queen or another member of the royal family to yap about you. Even a couple of royal corgis would be ace. This is pure gold. Hey! This sort of thing worked for Ozzy Osborne!

Reality shows don't have much to offer the little gray cells but so long as they can use dirty tricks they will continue to be shown and to be seen.

More by this Author


Comments 7 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I watched some of the early "reality" shows, until I caught on to what they were doing. As you said, there is no reality to them. There were one or two that seemed to have some substance--like families challenged to live like pioneers for a time on old farmstead and do everything manually. Even these got boring.Anyhow, I ignore them now.

Your hub points out some of thepointlessness of it all.


BeccaHubbardWoods profile image

BeccaHubbardWoods 6 years ago from Outside your window...

I'm one of the people that loves reality shows. Anything with Gordon Ramsay screaming at defenseless people and I'm hooked. I found myself nodding while reading this hub. Good one. : )


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks dohoglund.

Thanks Becca HubbardWoods.


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Sounds like you are ready to create your own reality show Rod - you got all the bases covered. :)


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks billyaustindillon. I'm not really a dirty tricks kinda guy. Now if I was asked to script for something like Stargate...Well, I guess I can dream...


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Wow. Interesting hub. You must be an avid watcher of reality shows. The live 'talent shows' you mention as "reality" shows are not really in the same category as the other types of 'reality' shows, but your assessment is correct nonetheless. I do enjoy watching the talent shows, but skip the preludes to them (the actual screening of the contestants) as being a bit superfluous to the whole concept of the talent contest itself.

And yes the call in voting does give the public a sense of some control over who wins, or loses. But even this is convoluted. When these talent shows first began, each caller was only allowed one 'call in' to vote. But to boost their ratings they have now changed it to as many calls that one person cares to make for the same contestant. This to me, negates the very purpose of having people call in at all. So, the winner is not really a winner by the general public, rather than by how many calls they receive. This gives the public the opportunity to screen out those winners that some people do not like for whatever reasons they might have. Example, in the season that Adam Lambert and Kris Allen were the last two standing. The obvious winner (by talent) would have been Adam Lambert. But he was overshadowed by the audience of people who judged his talent by his sexual orientation. He was the "gay" guy and Kris was the "straight christian". If the call in voting was limited to one call per person, and based on talent,there is no way that this would have turned out the way it did. So, in this respect - this WAS truly an ending based on the REALITY of our times. A social statement based on religious bigotry and not talent.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks d.william. I am not actually an avid watcher of reality shows. A lot of this information can and was taken from the commercials for these shows and also from the ten minutes or more one of these 'reality' shows goes overtime.

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