Types Of Reality TV Shows


Reality is a staple of current TV programming. It is often called “Alternative Programming” in that is must be differentiated from entirely scripted TV show formats. The distinction is becoming blurred as many of these shows aren’t truly “real” and contain an element of “semi-scripting” as determined by the story producer.

There are many genres of Unscripted TV shows featuring “real” characters:

1) DOCUMENTARY

These simply feature rolling cameras and minimal editing. They basically follow interesting people around with a camera chronicling their daily events. Big Brother type shows featuring “camera friendly” cast with big personalities in a confined space such as house or island are the simplest documentaries.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF

This sub genre follows rock stars, a line of work which most of us aren’t privy to (e.g. border security agents, tattoo artist and assorted specialist fields), and training (e.g. preparing for a competitive event). They are an “up close and personal” voyeuristic look into how such people live.

2) LEGAL

These include court shows, prison shows and anything relating to legal/crime issues. They also include crime recreations in order to investigate unsolved crimes.

3) COMPETITION

The feature of these shows search for talent and feature a substantial prize after some competitive pursuit. The competitions include dating, physical activities, artistic (e.g singing/ dancing), losing weight or presenting an attractive business proposition and cooking.

Game shows are a sub genre of the competition format.

4) LIFESTYLE

These are essentially home makeover, renovation craft based shows. They also include planning for event shows such as wedding show formats.

7) TRAVEL

These are destination/ resort type shows which are often sponsored by a hotel chain or travel company. They also include discovering little seen places, often with an element of danger and adventure.

6) TRANSFORMATION/ SELF IMPROVEMENT

These are self-awareness shows which involve a major lifestyle change such as eliminating a self-destructive habit, attitude or addiction.

7) SOCIAL EXPERIMENT

Shows which challenge conventional wisdom and traditional social structures come under this category. They include shows like “Wife Swap”.

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