Reality TV has emerged as a significant category of television production, fueled by new technologies that offer unprecedented intimacy, immediacy, and interactivity. Reality TV gives ordinary people the chance to become celebrities through video diaries and "to camera" monologues that blur the boundaries between public and private spaces. The formats of reality TV include docu-soaps, docu-games and challenges, video diaries, true crime procedurals, emergency service programs, and lifestyle shows, such as makeovers, talent contests, and talk shows. They remain resilient, morphing and adapting themselves to become an integral part of our popular culture. Teaching Reality TV situates the form within the history of documentary and conducts an analysis according to text, audiences, producers, and debates. Case studies demonstrate key concepts through specific texts, supplemented by activities, lesson plans, references, resources, and a glossary.
Wendy Helsby taught media and film studies at Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke, U.K., and is a tutor for the Open University. She is the author of Teaching TV Advertising, Children's Comics: A Teacher's Guide, and Teaching TV Quiz Shows.