Reality TV shows are a matter of concern for UK viewers

LONDON: TV viewers in the UK are expressing concern about reality TV shows which "humiliate and exploit" contestants.

The UK's Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) interviewed more than 2,000 members of the public and had discussions with 14 different groups to gauge their views. Dramatic Licence: Fact or Fiction, centred on audience's attitude to TV drama.

A BBC News report suggests that viewers were concerned that the public perception of contestants could be manipulated through slick editing. Reality TV has become a phenomenon in the last four or five years with programmes such as Big Brother and Survivor drawing huge audiences across the world. In the UK, however, the fourth edition of Big Brother showed a reduction in viewership. 

In India, AXN has experienced success in the genre with shows like Fear factor and Who Dares Wins. The latter was localised last year. Auditions for the local version of Are You Hot are currently taking place.

BSC's report states "Although viewers question the realism of reality TV, its overall appeal is the sensationalist content which viewers recognise can be heightened by the use of selective editing." It also adds that audiences are concerned about whether the participant wanted the footage to be aired in its entirety.

As far as television dramas are concerned, viewers felt there was a general lack of quality programming and there was criticism for cliched themes that are continously recycled. The absence of originality is increasingly being felt in the storylines. The viewers called for realism in the storylines and should be based on some element of factual accuracy.

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