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Are reality television shows helping people or exploiting people?

There are reality television shows that offer music contracts, weight loss solutions, huge cash prizes, and even marriage. Are these shows shedding light on people's lives, or are they creating a false reality and steering people towards advertising dollars? Does the fact that they are on television alter the way the people on the shows act?

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    Aug 8 2012: First of all, Reality TV is probably the easiest way to make TV: no script being made and studied, no actors being paid, people at home get involved (through their votes) - so the costs drop and the profit increases.

    Now, regarding your question, I don't think they are exploiting anyone. When someone joins these kind of shows, the pros and cons are pretty much on the table (I can't resist posting a ABBA lyric): the winner takes it all and the loser standing small.
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    Aug 8 2012: i think reality shows are just meant for making money rather providing reality.
    television has become a medium for money making process.they do provide people with a sense of achieving higher but indeed they earn back from the people.
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    Aug 8 2012: Lets first take a look at why reality T.V is here in the first place; to make money for the T.V station. With the exclusion of a few select channels, this is the purpose of all stations.

    With that said, the stations want to entertain to convince people to watch their shows and thus creating more revenue for the channel. So what we have is a medium that wants to entertain to make money.

    So, reality television is created to make the viewer feel like it is real life. But, the problem is these reality television shows are competing against shows that could be real, but are incredibly action and drama oriented. This means that a persons everyday life becomes a boring subject on T.V.

    So, what do the producers do? They try to add the most drama as the possibly can. They purposely seek out certain "characteristics" and shoot as much as they can and then show the viewer a pinhole view of the entire situation.

    So, to answer your questions, no, it is not exactly real life, but I would not exactly go so far as to say people are being exploited.
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    Aug 7 2012: Definitely exploiting imo. They're trying to make a business off of the sheep-mentality.
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    Aug 7 2012: Reality shows could help some talents with the exposure they offer; but there are some things that reality shows can't do.
    They sure cant sustain a marriage, or sustain weight loss, or gurantee success in the music career.
    They do bring more money from advertising; and yes, people change when lights and camera are around.
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    Aug 7 2012: This is survival startegy of TV as a whole......to keep viewers with the channel while not only competing with other TV channels but also with internet.
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    Aug 7 2012: Mostly this platform is being used to cheap entertainment and is really ruining the future of our children. As an media man I am seeing both educational & entertainment shows being showed through many channels. But few people are watching the educational reality shows. If not regulated these channels will be demons for our lives.
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      Aug 7 2012: For those of us who watch little television, could you explain what an educational reality show is, as distinct for a non-educational one, and give some examples of educational ones?
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    Aug 7 2012: "reality" music shows are actually just a cheaper way to promote albums. mostly, they produce derivative rubbish from middle of the road karaoke singers of mild talent.

    what they do create is a built-in audience guaranteed to shift a million units..