Reality TV has changed television and changed reality, even if we are not among the millions who watch. Written for a broad audience, this accessible overview addresses questions such as: How real is reality TV? How do its programs represent gender, sex, class, and race? How does reality TV relate to politics, to consumer society, to surveillance? What kind of ethics are on display? Drawing on current media research and the author’s own analysis, this study encompasses the history and evolution of reality television, its production of reflexive selves and ordinary celebrity, its advertising and commercialization, and its spearheading of new relations between television and social media.
To dismiss this programming as trivial is easy. Deery demonstrates that reality television merits serious attention and her incisive analysis will interest students in media studies, cultural studies, politics, sociology, and anyone who is simply curious about this global phenomenon.
1. Introduction: Definitions, History, Critiques
2. Reality Status
3. Social Television: Reality TV and New Media
4. Advertising and Commercialization
5. Gender and Race
Misha Kavka, The University of Auckland
"Taking reality television seriously as "staged actuality," Deery presents a clear way to understand this phenomenon of the past twenty years through a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of the programs and the scholarship on them. This is a great text for students and viewers alike."
Vicki Mayer, Tulane University