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"Below The Yellow Line": Competitor Discourse on NBC's "The Biggest Losrer"
Unformatted Document Text:  1 Can we edit that part out?_______________________________________________________ There has been much debate over the verisimilitude of the reality TV genre, however the answer is clear and unambiguous: reality TV is the most “real” form of television there is. The participants are often “real” (i.e. non-celebrities) as well as the environment, dialogue, interactions and attitudes presented on the show. The questionability of the reality TV genre is a question of post-production “reality”. Unlike scripted television, reality TV must cobble together segments of real life and interaction into a narrative format. On the timeline of television entertainment the reality genre still qualifies as new, and consequently, presents a variety of ways in which it may be examined. These have stretched from the technical changes wrought by the genre to presentation of race, gender and class and everything in between. Therefore, while a complete discussion of the nature of reality TV is beyond the scope of this paper, there can be a brief review of the most potent and relevant discussions currently in vogue. Clearly, TV is more than simply “entertainment” and with this understanding reality TV can be examined in three specific spheres: (1) cultural situation/status, (2) genre traits and (3) ethical concerns. Reality TV must be understood a reflective tool of the culture in which it is produced. The first reality TV formats of the 1940s-1950s (i.e. unscripted) owe a debt to Allen Funt’s Candid Camera, which debuted in 1948, along with other shows such as Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. The Miss America Pageant, first broadcast in 1954, was the first televised competition show where the winner became an overnight national celebrity. This era also solidified the game show format with shows like Beat the Clock, Truth or Consequences and Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life. As the 1960s-1970s brought a raw, non-commercial, cinema verite style to films, the burgeoning reality TV movement followed suit. Seven Up!, one of the most influential reality

Authors: Dunning, Eric., Alsip, Mary Katherine. and Bissell, Kim.
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1
Can we edit that part out?_______________________________________________________
There has been much debate over the verisimilitude of the reality TV genre, however the 
answer is clear and unambiguous: reality TV is the most “real” form of television there is. The 
participants are often “real” (i.e. non-celebrities) as well as the environment, dialogue, 
interactions and attitudes presented on the show.  The questionability of the reality TV genre is a 
question of post-production “reality”. Unlike scripted television, reality TV must cobble together 
segments of real life and interaction into a narrative format. On the timeline of television 
entertainment the reality genre still qualifies as new, and consequently, presents a variety of ways 
in which it may be examined. These have stretched from the technical changes wrought by the 
genre to presentation of race, gender and class and everything in between. Therefore, while a 
complete discussion of the nature of reality TV is beyond the scope of this paper, there can be a 
brief review of the most potent and relevant discussions currently in vogue. Clearly, TV is more 
than simply “entertainment” and with this understanding reality TV can be examined in three 
specific spheres: (1) cultural situation/status, (2) genre traits and (3) ethical concerns.
 Reality TV must be understood a reflective tool of the culture in which it is produced. 
The first reality TV formats of the 1940s-1950s (i.e. unscripted) owe a debt to Allen Funt’s 
Candid Camera, which debuted in 1948, along with other shows such as Ted Mack’s Original 
Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. The Miss America Pageant, first broadcast in 
1954, was the first televised competition show where the winner became an overnight national 
celebrity. This era also solidified the game show format with shows like Beat the Clock, Truth or 
Consequences and Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life
As the 1960s-1970s brought a raw, non-commercial, cinema verite style to films, the 
burgeoning reality TV movement followed suit. Seven Up!, one of the most influential reality 


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