Why Reality TV is so Addicting

One has to wonder at times why Reality TV is so addictive. Is it the unscripted dramatic situations or the humor that spontaneously occurs? The shows on Reality TV usually feature regular people and not professional actors, usually in a contest for a prize. This addictive formula for TV began in the 1990s and grew into a phenomenon around 1999 to 2000.


Reality shows are enthralling because humans naturally like to watch other people go through emotional experiences such as love, pain, fear, anger and deceit. When a reality star is going through trials you may empathize with them. Furthermore, such shows allow you to watch people overcome their trials, experience personal growth and become better individuals.


Reality TV fulfills the voyeuristic part of human nature. Some people watch these shows to feel better about their lives and issues they may be facing. It may be educational if you are experiencing similar situations as the stars of the show. In such a case, the show will serve as resource for advice that will provide you with the necessary steps to address your challenges. Take for instance, if you have a drinking problem and there’s a person in a reality show who is an alcoholic. You will be drawn to that person’s situation as they seek assistance to eliminate their alcoholic habits. Therefore, you won’t want to miss an episode because the show helps you to gain understanding about alcoholism. Additionally, it serves as a support system for you to overcome your alcohol addiction.

Time Slot

The time at which reality shows air also contributes to their addictive nature. The slot between 7-9 p.m., known as prime time, is the time when most people turn on their television sets to get some entertainment. At this time of day, television has the highest viewership and the probability of a show’s success will be higher during that period.


The audiences of these reality shows are genuinely bored with soap operas and other scripted shows in which the plot is predictable. Reality TV is successful due to the spontaneity of the shows. The unpredictable outcome causes viewers to be glued to their television sets and not miss a minute of the programming.  


The prizes that are offered increase the shows’ popularity. The enormous prize money helps to attract an audience as people like to see others succeed after overcoming huge obstacles.


The reality shows can be engaging as they usually choose a host that is very popular. Whether they are actors or singers, this host will invariably have their following and based on their star power will bring an audience of their own. This allows an audience that was not initially interested in the show to be attracted to it.

The advent of Reality TV has given the shows in the primetime slots a boost in ratings. There are hundreds of unscripted TV shows that are addictive to their particular fan base. The empathy and unpredictability of the show will always make the episodes appealing.

This is a guest post written by Haliyma Barrow who is a freelance article writer based in New York. Haliyma enjoys writing film reviews as well as watching the latest TV shows.

Karla Urwitz
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