Reality television in Australia has branched out with well known shows sharing the limelight, and sporting fresh controversy that seems to be receiving more publicity than the programs themselves.
By its nature unscripted and unpredictable, filled with drama and raw emotion, reality TV has been the trend for 21st century television. The United States dominate the airwaves, with a string of reality shows like, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Dance Moms and Jersey Shore, and as a result Australian television networks have been quick to adapt these successful ideas into new and improved versions.
The Australian adaptions of The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance, The Shire, Australian Idol, The Voice, and Master Chef, have all made their debut on our television screens, with some still on going and others falling short of expectations.
However, the down under versions of shows such as The Bachelor and Big Brother, though popular, have been grabbing headlines recently due to controversy occurring on the outskirts of their programs rather than the events that have taken place during their air time.
Channel Nine’s Big Brother has been overloaded with criticism after housemate Lawson cheated on his girlfriend of five years inside the house with a housemate nearly 10 years his senior. But focus has been shifted to Lawson’s spouse on the outside with attempts for her to speak out. Furthermore, Mark Holden’s performance on Channel Seven’s Dancing With the Stars, which was described as creepy and cringeworthy received great amount of attention during week on social media.
But probably the most poignant news over the past two weeks has revolved around the on going drama between this year’s bachelor Blake Garvey and his ex-fiancee Sam Frost, where it was revealed that Mr Garvey dumped Ms Frost for second runner up Louise Pillidge. Channel Ten’s The Project continued to surprise audiences with exclusive interviews with those involved in the saga that set Twitter on fire with more people tweeting about the show post production than when it was airing.
Ratings have significantly dropped compared to last year with major television networks, Channel 7, 9 and 10 all taking a hit. Channel Seven’s X Factor, and Channel Nine’s The Voice saw a surprising 20-30 per cent ratings drop, while Channel Ten’s reboot of So You Think You Can Dance was axed for 2015.
Legal Secretary in Sydney’s CBD Mr Ritesh Maharaj, who was in the running to be in the last two Big Brother house’s said, “Each network presents their own take on reality TV, all trying to add as many twists in their series to keep their viewers interested at all costs.”
It is questionable whether networks are in a last resort attempt to draw attention to their reality shows, however it is clear it will be an immediate challenge for all to at least maintain their audience levels during their show’s airtime in 2015. – Xantre Macaraeg
Top photo from Paul Townsend’s Flickr photostream.