Big Brother: Reality TV in the Twenty-First Century by Jonathan Bignell (auth.)

By Jonathan Bignell (auth.)

Jonathan Bignell offers a wide-ranging research of the tv phenomenon of the early twenty-first century: fact television, exploring its cultural and political meanings, explaining the genesis of the shape and its dating to modern tv creation, and contemplating the way it connects with, and breaks clear of, actual and fictional conventions in tv. Relationships with surveillance, megastar and media tradition are tested, resulting in an appraisal of the instructions that tv tradition is taking within the new century. His highly-readable kind is offered to readers in any respect degrees of tradition and Media studies.

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Sample text

His evidence for this view was that Reality TV does not pretend that it is observational, and thus comes clean about its manipulation, whereas observational documentary does not: ‘look at how people’s nature is revealed because of the situation we’ve put them in’. He drew attention to the pleasures of Reality TV formats for audiences because of their basis in a narrative structure that makes satisfying viewing, in contrast to the less obviously narrativized observational documentary form. Referring to RDF’s Faking It and Wife Swap, he argued that these ‘are formats that give you those narrative structures, but there’s still an enormous variety and unpredictability about what will happen in them’.

The parliament in Malawi banned the series for two weeks until the high court declared this unconstitutional and required the national broadcaster to carry it again. President Sam Nujoma of Namibia asked the state-owned Namibian Broadcasting Corporation to cease broadcasting the programme, though Namibian audiences were largely heedless of his intervention. In Uganda, religious and women’s groups, members of parliament and commentators denounced the series for immorality but it continued to be shown.

By contrast, however, HBO and other cable channels managed to find some sitcoms which were perceived as rather controversial and gained much higher profile than the main networks’ competing programmes. For example, the relatively adult content (in US terms) of the sitcom Will and Grace, which features a household comprising a young gay man and a straight woman, or Sex and the City, which frequently contained scenes of sexual activity and ‘bad language’, addressed relatively young and affluent audiences, especially women.

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Big Brother: Reality TV in the Twenty-First Century by Jonathan Bignell (auth.)
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