Why is Reality Television so Popular?

With The Bachelor finale just a few weeks away I feel it is important to ask, what is it about reality television that has everyone continuously tuning in ratings?

Although you may not watch reality TV yourself, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore. Within recent years, the realm of reality television has grown immensely granting shows such as Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Bachelor the ability to define the last decade. According to various studies, there is a multitude of explanations as to why one may find themselves glued to the television when a reality show is on, of course, the rationale behind each TV show’s specific audience varies. One reason to watch is that reality shows provide their viewers with a sense of community, a feeling of belonging to a group of individuals sharing a common interest.

With shows such as The Bachelor and Survivor, viewers are able to come together to support their favorite contestants as they undergo various challenges and elimination rounds. Another draw to reality television is its relatability. With a series such as Keeping Up With The Kardashians, this reasoning does not explicitly apply, however, various reality shows center around “normal” people, presenting the audience with a sense of obtainability. On the opposing hand, reality television may also exhibit a perfected version of the truth, this is precisely where shows such as The Real Housewives and The Hills come into play. The character’s outrageous lifestyles and exaggerated wealth present those watching with an altered sense of reality, adding what is known as the dream factor to the list of reasons to watch. 

Of course, the discussion surrounding whether or not reality television is truly realistic alternates depending on who you ask. Nonetheless, reality television has been around for decades and does not appear to be losing popularity in the slightest.