Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture

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The Apprentice. Project Runway. The Bachelor. My Life on the D-list. Extreme Makeover. American Idol. It is virtually impossible to turn on a television without coming across some sort of reality programming. Yet, while this genre has rapidly moved from the fringes of television culture to its lucrative core, critical attention has not kept pace.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Since reality television began to flood TV screens, we've had to deal with another phenomenon: a renewed debate about what is 'fun' versus what is 'good for you.' The essays in this volume enlighten that discussion and take us beyond it. They provide both the record of a strange moment in history and a contribution to contemporary cultural politics."

-Toby Miller,editor of Television & New Media

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814756874
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 2/24/2004
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 0.88 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Murray is Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. She is the author of Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars: Early Television and Broadcast Stardom.

Laurie Ouellette is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities. She is author (with James Hay) of Better Living through Reality TV and of Viewers Like You? How Public TV Failed the People.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I Genre
1 "Stanley Milgram, Allen Funt, and Me": Postwar Social Science and the "First Wave" of Reality TV 19
2 "I Think We Need a New Name for It": The Meeting of Documentary and Reality TV 40
3 Teaching Us to Fake It: The Ritualized Norms of Television's "Reality" Games 57
4 "Expect the Unexpected": Narrative Pleasure and Uncertainty due to Chance in Survivor 75
5 Extraordinarily Ordinary: The Osbournes as "An American Family" 97
II Industry
6 The Political Economic Origins of Reali-TV 119
7 The End of TV 101: Reality Programs, Formats, and the New Business of Television 137
8 Court TV: The Evolution of a Reality Format 157
III Cultural Politics
9 Country Hicks and Urban Cliques: Mediating Race, Reality, and Liberalism on MTV's The Real World 179
10 What Do Women Watch? Tuning In to the Compulsory Heterosexuality Channel 197
11 Aliens, Nomads, Mad Dogs, and Road Warriors: The Changing Face of Criminal Violence on TV 214
12 "Take Responsibility for Yourself": Judge Judy and the Neoliberal Citizen 231
13 See You in Hell, Johnny Bravo! 251
IV Reception
14 Got to Be Real: Mediating Gayness on Survivor 271
15 The Meaning of Real Life 288
16 "Kiss Me Kat": Shakespeare, Big Brother, and the Taming of the Self 303
17 Jamming Big Brother: Webcasting, Audience Intervention, and Narrative Activism 323
About the Contributors 345
Index 349
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