Imagine Tom Cruise picking up weeds in your back yard, or Aishwarya Rai in your kitchen learning to cook from you. A couple of years ago it might have been unthinkable, but not anymore. Welcome to the decade of reality television, a place where fiction meets reality. A place where you can share a common platform with celebrities. Reality television cuts everyone down to size. That is the beauty of it.
Candid Camera was one of the very first reality shows to be aired on television. It captured the candid reactions of people to humorous tricks and pranks. The novelty has not worn off. Ordinary people captured in real-life situations seem to still keep the audiences amused. Drama still rules with housewives but reality TV shows appeal to everybody- the young and the old regardless of gender.
There are a host of reality shows on television. Talent hunts, celebrity shows, quiz shows, game shows, documentary shows, makeover shows, there is no end to it. No matter which channel you watch, there will be a reality show to see. Reality shows are for peep-toms and almost each of us nurtures one within ourselves which is why we get kicks out of watching ordinary people or celebrities react in real-life situations.
The thrill of watching unedited action is what keeps everyone glued to the screen. Shows like Indian Idol which turned the boys next door to celebrity singers really caught the audience’s imagination especially as they were able to somehow affect the outcome of the show by means of public voting. It just kept them going back for more. Whether it was Cyrus Broacha’s MTV Bakra or Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ or the ‘Indian Idol’, all have been watched with enthusiasm. Newer concepts are being explored in reality television and soaps are going to have to really fight hard to stay on prime time. Reality television is here to stay.