Why Reality Television works ? Decoding Bigg Boss, Indian Idol, Super Dancer and more


Reality television has become a darling of Indian television lately. Be it Bigg Boss, Super Dancer, Jhalakk Dikh La Ja or many others in the league, they all garner high TRPs irrespective of competetion with cricket matches & news channels.

So what makes reality television click? Why do people switch in to watch strangers compete and win? Well the answer is simple. Reality television taps into the most basic of human emotion i.e curiosity and support, more than the daily soaps do. The daily soaps evoke an emotion of love and support for the female lead whom the viewers hoot for. But why only the female lead?  Because as research suggests , majority of the viewers of Indian television are women so women centric content dominates the medium unlike web where the majority viewership consists of men.

Indian television Bigg Boss fiction scripted reality
Bigg Boss and other reality shows continue to top TRP charts

More exciting than the daily soaps

While the daily soaps try to keep up the curiosity levels high, they more or less are predictable. Reality TV shows on the other hand are not predictable at all, anyone can be eliminated at any time and that's what makes the whole viewing experience exciting. And it might sound idiotic but people like to get emotional and listen to other people's hardships and that is the reason that majority of the contestants in the reality shows have dark backgrounds. It has been psychologically proved that humans feel better when they listen to dark backgrounds and struggle stories as it makes them feel relieved and happy about their own standing, this happens subconsciously.

Unpredictable personalities chosen to increase the interest levels

The other major reason of reality shows working so well is that the contestants have varied personalities and these characters make the watch worthwhile. Apart from being talented, one major quality required to be selected in any of the reality show is being different than the crowd and being entertaining. This is exactly why you must have seen contestants who are average on the talent front not being eliminated just for the fact that their antics bring in high TRPs and vice versa. In case of dailies the characters become predictable and the show falls flat after 30 - 40 episodes max.

Lastly shows like Bigg Boss work because people want to see celebrities, however big or small they are, stripped down of their stardom. People like to see their favorite television lead washing clothes and making food because that makes them feel that these stars are real and gives them a look into their lives outside the screen.

So what's your favorite reality show ?

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