MOTIVES FOR ENGAGING WITH TV REALITY SHOW AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: FOCUS ON THE BACHELOR
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This work entitled; Motives for engaging with TV reality show among university students: Focus on the Bachelor starts by reflecting the situation of reality TV shows in some universities in Cameroon such as; the University of Buea, the Catholique University of Buea, the University of Douala and the University of Yaounde II (SOA).
The research is conducted to document the reasons that motivate female university students to follow reality TV shows particularly the Bachelor, content in the program that capture them most and most importantly their perceptions about the reality TV.
The results of the research reveal that most of the female university students do follow the reality TV show mainly for entertainment, some follow it due to their friends who follow it and some because of their family members.
It is recommended that reality Tv shows should maintain the entertainment factor since the entertainment value was a significant reason for following the show. Also , they should foster diversity and representation as participants mentioned their interest in African in the reality TV show.
A television reality show is a media product broadcast on tv that aims at showing how ordinary people behave in everyday life, how they react to different situations, often created by the program makers in order to present everyday life. Such programs are often meant for entertainment though they could also be educative in some cases. Reality television documents purportedly unscripted real-life situations, often starring unfamiliar people rather than professional actors. Television reality shows vary from ordinary television shows in that they have a completely different structure. For example, regular games show tends to be very rigid and self-contained meanwhile reality game shows tend to be more open and subjective. The reasons for which people watch reality TV programs vary in different aspects such as their gender, nationality, culture language, amongst many.
Stoll (2022) stated that the statistics that present data on the reasons for watching TV reality shows in the United States as of March 2017 after the survey, proved that 18% of the population watched the show simply because they liked the drama, 13 %. Because it is mindless for them, other because it helped them to forget about real issues in their life and in the world as a whole, for 11% of them said it helped them to connect with like mind viewers, others just liked the good background voice while others got informed about different popular cultures.
Reality television shows emerged as a distinct genre in the early 1990s with shows such as the real world, and later on the achieved prominence in the early 2000s with the success of the series survivor, idols, and equally Big brother all of which became global franchises. Their formats portray people in unscripted situations, unsuspected people are been confronted with funny and unusual situations and filmed. However, not everything ¨ real ¨ fits under this umbrella despite the term reality being its name. Reality tv as a genre does not include documentaries, news, programs, sport programs and talk shows, traditional game shows are not qualified as reality shows unlike competition shows involving contestants. This was greatly influenced by the birth or the introduction of the digital media which greatly reduce the audience and viewership of tv contents as such communication agents of the tv industry developed a different strategy in order to regain their market.
The very first reality type show came up in 1948, with the ¨ Candid Camera ¨ this was Allen Funt’s hidden camera show featuring unsuspected people reacting to pranks. It zas based on his 1947 radio show, Candid microphone, a hidden microphone shows during this same time we started seeing talent search shows with regular people competing for audience votes.
In the 1950s, game shows started getting a little world wild, contestants were put in wacky situations with stunts and practical jokes. There was definitely emphasis on fun and amusement stunts rather than difficulty, and while these games shows are not considered part of the reality tv genre, they did help pave way for it.
The first TV reality show that could truly be considered as such and that was very popular was the AMERICAN FAMILY starred the Loud family, an upper middle class in Santa Babara, California, originally meant to document the daily life of the family it ended up documenting the separation and subsequent divorce of Parents Bill and Pat Loud, the intimate and accurate portrayal of a regular American family was something that no one had ever seen on tv before. THE AMERICAN FAMILY is an American television documentary series that followed the life of a California family in the early 1970s. Widely referred to as the first example of an American reality TV show, the series drew millions of weekly viewers, who were drawn to a story that seemed to shatter the rosy façade of middle-class suburbia. It also became a lightning rod for discussion about the precarious state of the American family in the early 1970s. An American Family ranks #32 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list.
The producer; Criag Gillbert used an observational filming style sometimes referred to as ¨ fly on the wall ¨ which turns viewers into passive observers as details unfold before the camera.
According to psychologists, one reason why reality shows are popular in the US is because of the viewers’ desire to be a part of a specific group. Furthermore, reality television helps viewers fantasize about fame through media exposure. Today, reality television achieving has become an important component of popular culture, providing hours of entertainment to millions of Americans.The top ranking tv reality show is that of; THE CARDASHIANS. Entertaining audiences since forever, the Kardashian have become a staple name in the reality television industry.
Their extravagant life was first shown on screen in the American reality television series ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’, which ran for 20 seasons from the year 2007 to 2021 with over 280 episodes. Finding a new network in 2022, a new version of the show ‘The Kardashians’ was introduced. The show focuses on the Kardashian-Jenner family and the happenings in their lives.
From all the fun jamboree to the unhappy moments, the show captures their lives day-in and out. Thus, they allow the audience to get a closer glimpse into their lives and form a deeper bond with them. While the Reality show is a paradise for fun entertainment, it has also given rise to numerous memes, which in turn help it stay relevant in today’s climate.
According Takambou (2022), real TV show made a debut in Cameroon after several years of failed attempts by those in the country’s entertainment industry. They finally came up with the ¨ Biggy 237 ¨ in august 2022 which comprised of 25 contestants drawn from six regions in the country, both female and male. They all met in the ¨ Biggy 237 ¨ house in Douala where they competed in various games. Activities went on for 8 weeks and the main aim being to bring out their hidden talents as youngsters with inexperienced coaches available to guide them. Realising the Biggy237 concept however had not aalways been a bed of roses. The first season of Biggy 237 was planned to kick off in January 2020, with contestants battling to become the first Biggy237 millionaire It eventually started 6 months’ latter due to a host of challenges including the corona virus pandemic. However, the organizers promised to bring the best of entertainment to their audience.
Another reality show then came up in Africa during the year 2022 known as ¨ The Bachelor ¨ THE BACHELOR is a tv reality show introduced in the French speaking African zone. It is all about a young bachelor who is in search of a woman. He is presented to 20 contestants from different countries in Africa, among which he has to make his own choice. This program diffused via Canal + Pop, started on the 15 of October, the 20 contestants as earlier mentioned all gathered in a castle where they all strived to seduce a man; the bachelor himself ¨ Joel Willams ¨; an Ivorian entrepreneur, at the end of which the winners get an engagement ring.
There has been a rise in the production of reality shows in Nigeria in recent years. However, conservative sections of Nigerian society find them morally bankrupt and believe they are out to encourage promiscuous lifestyles. Even so, these ongoing reality shows in Nigeria have won the hearts of millions of viewers. //Big Brother Naija tops the list of Nigerian reality TV shows. This series follows a group of youth living in the Big Brother house for ten weeks. They all stand a chance to win a grand prize of over 35 million Naira. Big Brother Naija has been on air since 2006, although it had an 11-year hiatus after the first season, returning in 2017. //The series wrapped up its seventh season in October 2022 with a grand prize of N100 million in cash and gifts. No matter their background, anybody can enter the house. It also focuses on betrayal, lust, love and drama, all themes which intrigue multitudes. (Onyanga 2022).
Another popular show in Nigeria is known as; THE REAL HOUSE WIVES OF LAGOS. The Real Housewives of Lagos (RHOLagos) premiered in July 2022. The series centres on the lavish lives of six affluent Lagos socialites. It has only aired for one season at the time of writing. The main cast includes social media influencer Laura Ikeji-Kanu, fashion designer Toyin Lawani-Adebayo, Carolyna Hutchings, Chioma Ikokwu, Mariam Timmer and Iyabo Ojo. Every week, viewers watch the rich women showcase their fancy lifestyles, including shopping trips, internal competitions and high society parties. In just a few months, the series has become a fan favourite and has been nominated for the African Entertainment Awards USA. It tops social media trends weekly. Onyanya (2022)
Thus, this study intends to examine the motives for engaging with the bachelor tv reality show among university students in Cameroon, registered in the following universities; the university of Buea, the Catholic university, university of Douala, and equally the university of YAOUNDE II.
This reality show was just at its first edition, added to the fact that it was a French speaking program however, it gained a lot of popularity both in the French speaking and the English-speaking zones, this thus calls for attention and consequently a need to carry out a research that will attempt to examine the motives that engage female university student to follow THE BACHELOR tv reality show, their demographics, what attracts them most and other information that will be of help to reality show producers and equally to the society.
Recently, many authors have written about TV reality shows, focusing on different angle, aspects such as the criticisms that tv reality shows defies given that it shares a lot of generic conventions with genres such as game shows, talent shows, talk shows and documentaries.
The study on criticisms was carried out by Penzorn and Pitou (2008) under the tittle; ¨ A critical –historical genre analysis of reality television ¨
The objective of thier study was to investigate the criticism that reality television defies precise definition because it shares generic conventions with genres such as game shows, talent shows, talk shows and documentaries. They started this investigation by using the historical genre approach to determine the historical roots of reality television. The historical approach also enabled them to identify four genre conventions associated with reality television, that is, the focus on ordinary people, voyeurism, audience participation, and the attempt to simulate real life. These characteristics furthermore explain the popularity of this genre with the viewing audience. To make provision for one genre ‘borrowing’ from another, they suggested the use of the hybrid mix (or generic mix) model which enables researchers to identify the content (e.g., the narrative) of reality programs as well as its unique, formalistic characteristics.
Another aspect of reality show that has been studied and that has undergone research is that of its impacts on human behavior; Berman (2022) affirms that tv reality shows have shaped our lives in one way or the other as his tittle tells it; ‘Reality TV Has Reshaped Our World, Whether We Like It or Not’. According to Berman, reality TV has radically altered the landscapes of celebrity, politics, and power. It has made many people extremely rich; Kim Kardashian for instance, has a net worth of $ 1.8 billion. Reality stars have penetrated every corner of the entertainment industry, from Harry Styles, Kelly Clarkson, and Cardi B on the pop charts (appearing on The X Factor, American Idol, and Love & Hip Hop: New York, respectively) to Jennifer Hudson, and Emma Stone in Hollywood (first seen on Idol, I Want to Work for Diddy, and VH1’s In Search of the Partridge Family). Also, without the Real Housewives, the Kardashian-Jenner clan, and the Selling Sunset cast, the pages of gossip rags would be virtually blank. Reality TV also restored the cultural capital and catalyzed the political rise of the 45th President. In a 2016 interview that the critic James Poniewozik highlights in his book Audience of One: Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America, a former supervising editor of The Apprentice explained the show’s aim: “Make Trump look good, make him look wealthy, legitimate.” Well, it worked. And Trump, the consummate reality star, brought the medium’s guiding principles—conflict, chaos, and public humiliation—to the West Wing.
Reality tv does not only has impact on human behaviour but it actually affects the society as a whole. Such is the angle of study by Simaya Hargrove. Reality TV shows are entertaining to watch but in what ways does it affect us in our everyday lives? Could reality tv have a negative impact on society? Why are people so interested in reality tv? What keeps people so interested in the lives of actors, artists, doctors, chefs, dancers, basketball players, etc.? Watching reality tv gives people an alternate universe to temporarily escape to. Reality television allows you to live through other people. The reason people watch reality TV is so they can escape into someone else’s life, deflecting from their own. It’s the feeling of enjoyment people get from seeing other people’s problems that makes reality tv so intriguing. It makes regular people feel better about themselves. “Seeing someone struggling more than you, will most likely make you feel better about yourself, if you really think about it, it relieves stress because you’re thinking about how your life isn’t as hectic as the person who is on tv” said Samantha Hargrove, reality TV enthusiast. (Hargrove 2019)
This study is one which is different from previous once as it is the case here above in that, it will provide answers to questions that have partially or not been answered at all such as; why are people so interested in reality tv? What are the dynamics of viewership for tv reality shows? Also, previous studies do not provide a way for media practitioners to better the content of their tv reality shows so as to gain more audition but this study its limited to one particular tv reality show; THE BACHELOR, will enable the understanding of the dynamics of viewership and as such, media practitioners will be able to set rules to follow in order to come up with the most captivating media content and thus increase their viewership
What is peculiar about this particular tv reality show is that it has gained a lot of popularity in a very short period of time though it was just at its very first edition, this is coupled to the fact that the show is in the French language, it gained popularity both in French speaking as well as in English speaking zones and this within a very short period of time, this has not been the case for the previous reality shows in Cameroon. The study is thus an attempt to provide the motives that engaged university female students to massively follow THE BACHELOR TV reality show.
THE BACHELOR TV reality show is one that has gained a lot of interest from the public within a short period of time, and the main people that turn to be particularly interested are the youth (female).
This has brought up many questions such as, why are the youth so interested in this reality show, what captures their attention in the reality show? is it the style of costume that is used in the program? or does it have anything to do with the contestants in the reality show.
Communication agents aim at passing across a particular agenda in the different programs that they come up with and these agendas turn to influence the lives of the audience negatively or positively. The program follows a defined script that portrays an image of the society which to them is the ideal image.
Thus, considering this, what could then be the particular image and agenda that is been passed across in this reality show that captivates the audience to a greater extend coupled with the fact that watching the program is time and data consuming but people still create time to follow the program. They go as far as following the reality show on social media platforms such as Facebook (meta) and You tube, for those who do not have TV sets in their homes and equally does who might have missed an episode or more, they strive to have enough data so as to have access to the show online.
The central research objective is to document the perception of female university students about THE BACHELOR TV reality show.
To describe the content of the bachelor African reality show that captures audience interest most.
To describe the demographics of university students watching the Bachelor TV reality show
what are the perceptions of female university students about the bachelor tv reality show that is the various points of views of the students?
- What content in the bachelor reality show captures the audience most?
- What are the demographics of the university student who watch the bachelor tv reality show?