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Why There are so many Reality and Game Shows on Television

Updated on June 22, 2013


© Oneo2 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos 3d image, Conceptual Old-style Tv, random position
© Oneo2 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos 3d image, Conceptual Old-style Tv, random position | Source

Why there are so many Game and Reality TV Shows

Many people despair at the many reality and game shows, which crowd their television screens night after night. They long for intellectually challenging programmes and wonder why television companies put out this drivel night after night. Others lap up these programmes and avidly watch them all.

Reality television and game shows are similar in some ways, but very different in others, and attract different viewers for very different reasons.

Some people find reality television shows intensely irritating and stupid. Other viewers like these ‘reality’ shows and watch them avidly. Strange as it may seem some viewers actually like watching people making themselves look idiotic. They do not find entering other people’s private lives embarrassing. They enjoy watching other people sleeping on “Big Brother”, whereas other people find it incomprehensible that people enjoy watching others sleep.

Some people enjoy watching television shows that feature people, who are going through difficult or upsetting times in their lives. This enjoyment of other people’s misery is baffling, but possibly people who enjoy these type of shows like them because other people’s misery, difficulties, and problems make them feel superior.

Avid reality television viewers believe that what appears on the shows is the literal truth. However, television producers often set up scenes in so-called reality television shows deliberately to make the show more sensational. In fact, it would be more correct to call these shows unreality television, because they have little in common with ordinary life.

Some reality show viewers enjoy seeing people, especially celebrities, being humiliated and made to eat disgusting things, such as in “I’m A Celebrity, get Me Out of Here” or do humiliating tasks.

In this, there is a similarity with some viewers, who enjoy game shows. If a contestant on a game show programme cannot answer a question, to which the viewer knows the correct answer, it makes that viewer feel cleverer and superior to the hapless game show contestant. There is also the feeling that ordinary people, people just like the viewer, can win a life changing sum of money on game shows.

Another similarity in the viewing experience is that many people, especially young people, observe that ordinary people who appear on reality or game shows on the television become famous and many make a career from that appearance. This blinds people to the truth, which actually is that most people, appearing on these television shows sink back into obscurity, once their appearance disappears from the television screen.

Some game shows are quite stimulating. Many people watch game shows to test their own knowledge. Game shows can be a great, fun way to keep your mind active. The more up market game shows such as “Mastermind”, “University Challenge” and “Connect Four” really require some good knowledge and answering the questions can provide an excellent mental challenge.

The television companies view game shows and reality as a cheap way to fill the schedules. After all, game and reality shows do not cost much to make, as opposed to dramas requiring many well-paid actors, huge crews, elaborate sets and outside locations. Documentary and nature programmes require huge research, investigation, checking, as well as outside broadcasts and travel.

Much as many television viewers despair of the daily round of reality and game shows on their screens, it is likely that they will continue as long as there is an audience that wants them. Some people actually like these cheap programmes. Programme makers and television company shareholders like the profits that these programmes make and advertisers vie to get their products advertized around these programmes. These programmes are here to stay. Their audiences like them and they make money, which is the reason why there are so many reality and game shows on television.


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  • Mercia Collins profile image

    Mercia Collins 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    I hate them too, I don't want to watch "unreality" TV, but many people enjoy them. I much prefer a good documentary, drama or nature programme or a programme that teaches me something I did not know.

    Jackie, I think that you and I are in the minority.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I know these are popular but if they depended on people like me they would never make it. I never even check one out. TV is getting less interesting all the time and if they put a series on that is interesting half the time it seems to jump around so much you can't keep up with it. I sure don't understand any of it! lol