Negotiating "Documentary Values" in "Reality TV": Views From the Production Side

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperResearch


In this paper we shed light on the issue of 'documentary value', and questions of 'technico-aesthetic production' in particular, that emerge when approaching 'reality TV' as an hybrid form located at the intersection of screen documentary and popular entertainment, from a production perspective. By investigating the articulated perceptions, motivations and experiences of participants and professionals of the 'reality show' variant, characterized by its extensive and overt measures of contrivance, the subject emerges as a site of negotiation. The proclaimed factual (documentary) appeal and referential values constantly, and variously, interact with the (professional or commercial) imperatives of 'making (good) television' or television production exigencies generally. Although medium and format related strategies of selection, scripting, pro-filmic intervention or management and editing are variously deployed to create a 'preferred reality' that is 'suited' for (popular) television, program-makers and participants also engage in a complex reconstruction (rather than mere deconstruction) of the 'reality values' of these hybrid media products, thereby invoking different notions of 'authenticity' and 'realism'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown
PublisherAll Academic
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2012
EventUnknown -
Duration: 23 May 2012 → …


Period23/05/12 → …


  • reality TV
  • realism
  • authenticty
  • qualitative interviews


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