Restyling Factual TV addresses the wide range of programmes that fall within the category of 'factuality', from politics, to natural history, to reality entertainment.
Based on research with audiences of factual TV, primarily in Sweden and the UK, but with reference to other countries such as the US, this book tackles issues such as legitimacy, ethics and value in contemporary news and current affairs, documentary and reality programming.
Drawing on the ethics of truth-telling and notions of quality, this wide-ranging, authoritative book expands the debate on popular factual entertainment and will be a welcome addition to the current literature.
Annette Hill is Professor of Media and Research Director of the School of Media, Arts and Design, University of Westminster. Her previous publications include Reality TV: Audiences and Popular Factual Television (2005), the Television Studies Reader (with Robert C. Allen, 2003), TV Living: Television, Audiences and Everyday Life (with David Gauntlett, 1999) and Shocking Entertainment: Viewing Responses to Violent Movies (1997).
the global circulation and local adaptation of reality television formats and franchises
the production of fame and celebrity around hitherto "ordinary" people
the transformation of self under the public eye
the tensions between fierce loyalties to local representatives and imagined communities bonding across regional and ethnic divides
the struggle over the meanings and values of reality television across a range of national, regional, gender, class and religious contexts.
This book will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students on a range of Media and Television Studies courses, particularly those on the globalisation of television and media, and reality television.
But is television entertainment art? Why do so many love it and so many hate or fear it? Does it offer a window to the world, or images of a fake world? How is it political and how does it address us as citizens? What powers does it hold, and what powers do we have over it? Or, for that matter, what is television these days, in an era of rapidly developing technologies, media platforms, and globalization? Written especially for students, Television Entertainment addresses these and other key questions that we regularly ask, or should ask. Jonathan Gray offers a lively and dynamic, thematically based overview with examples from recent and current television, including Lost, reality television, The Sopranos, The Simpsons, political satire, Grey’s Anatomy, The West Wing, soaps, and 24.
Section one “Realizing the Real” looks at contemporary patterns of television consumption and the presentational styles which package the real in news, current affairs and other ‘live’ television formats. Essays on rhetorical strategies in the news coverage of the war in Iraq, on national and international inflections of Sky News in Europe and coverage of the recent EURO2004 football tournament, as well the multi-channel reporting of a prominent paedophilia scandal, are presented in this section. They all analyse the extent to which the grounded and the local are threatened and distorted by hegemonic forces in media today. The findings of a comprehensive new study of Portuguese social practices and viewing habits are also featured in this section.
Section Two “Realizing Performance” addresses the way new trends in reality programming and other documentary practices have impacted on fiction and entertainment television. There are essays on the recent wave of British television comedy heavily influenced by TV newsmagazine and fly-on-the-wall documentary styles and two pieces on new American series, 24 and CSI, which have revolutionized the narrative parameters and evidential base for thrillers and cop shows respectively, coming up with new ways to ‘perform’ space, time and science. Finally there is an essay on Nigel Kneale’s The Year of the Sex Olympics (1968), a survivor from the era of the single play who seems to anticipate the future of television in reality-based gameshow-style entertainment. Each of these essays shows that the success of these programmes is dependent on a fresh restylization of the conventions and formulas which govern mainstream television programming. They therefore see the representation of the real in fiction as primarily an aesthetic reappraisal.
Section Three “Performing the Real” looks at the explosion in reality television programming itself. It focuses on the coming to pass of 70s and 80s theorists’ visions of both a passive voyeuristic society and one increasingly at peace with the notion of surveillance. We have been progressively acculturated to watching and being watched. Orwellian anxiety has given way to Baudrillardian acceptance of the message and the medium fused in a new order of mediated reality or hyperreality. Essays refer specifically to the globalization of shows and formats and their local inflections and to coverage of reality shows in print media and on the net. There are essays on The Bachelor and gender stereotyping, Joe Millionaire and the conventions of melodrama, and two on Big Brother, one on the problems of communication within a sealed environment and another on its reception in Portugal. Concerns about the self and its authenticity are consistency raised in all the essays of this section.
When it debuted in 2002, The Bachelor raised the stakes of first-wave reality television, offering the ultimate prize: true love. Since then, thrice yearly, dozens of camera-ready young-and-eligibles have vied for affection (and roses) in front of a devoted audience of millions. In this funny, insightful examination of the world’s favorite romance-factory, Suzannah Showler explores the contradictions that are key to the franchise’s genius, longevity, and power and parses what this means for both modern love and modern America.
She argues the show is both gameshow and marriage plot — an improbable combination of competitive effort and kismet — and that it’s both relic and prophet, a time-traveler from first-gen reality TV that proved to be a harbinger of Tinder. In the modern media-savvy climate, the show cleverly highlights and resists its own artifice, allowing Bachelor Nation to see through the fakery to feel the romance. Taking on issues of sex, race, contestants-as-villains, the controversial spin-offs, and more, Most Dramatic Ever is both love letter to and deconstruction of the show that brought us real love in the reality TV era.
This book explores reality TV in all its forms - from competitive talent shows to reality soaps - examining a range of programmes from the mundane to those that revel in the spectacle of excess. Annette Hill’s research draws on interviews with television producers on the market of reality TV and audience research with over fifteen thousand participants during a fifteen year period.
Key themes in the book include the phenomenon of reality TV as a new kind of inter-generic space; the rise of reality entertainment formats and producer intervention; audiences, fans and anti-fans; the spectacle of reality and sports entertainment; and the ways real people and celebrities perform themselves in cross-media content.
Reality TVexplores how this form of popular entertainment invites audiences to riff on reality, to debate and reject reality claims, making it ideal for students of media and cultural studies seeking a broader understanding of how media connects with trends in society and culture.
Annette Hill’s research draws on interviews and observations with over 500 producers and audience members to explore cultures of viewing across different genres, such as Nordic noir crime drama The Bridge, cult conspiracy thriller Utopia, and reality television audiences and participants in global formats MasterChef and Got to Dance. The research highlights how trends such as multi-screening, catch up viewing, amateur media and piracy work alongside counter-trends in retro television viewing where people relish the social ritual of watching live television, or create a social media blackout for immersive viewing.
Media Experiencesbridges the divide between industry and academia, highlighting how producers and audiences co-create, shape and limit experiences within emerging mediascapes.