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Reality Programs Hit Cable Television

2008/04/29 Source

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By Han Sang-hee
Staff Reporter

The trend on television these days is "reality" and these are beginning to dominate productions.

Reality shows depict the stories of people of their lives. Unlike a drama or a talk show, the flow is more natural and most importantly, unpredictable. The programs delve deeper into meaning and look at those who are different. Boredom turns to entertainment.

Mnet Media launched their "star reality" programs a while ago, and they have become widely popular among other cliche programs.

"Off the Record Lee Hyori" takes a look into the life of Korea's top singer. The cameras literally barge into her house, her studio and even her closet. Being a famous singer may have helped, but the program's popularity soared because it showed the "real" Lee. Fans are able to discover her personal side.

"Seo In-young's KAIST" also takes the camera closer to celebrities. The program was produced to give Seo, a member of the female pop group Jewelry, the chance to experience university life. Because the singer debuted at an early age, she didn't get a chance to enjoy life as a student. A camera follows the singer as she attends classes, prepares for exams and chats with her new school friends.

While celebrities are doing their part in the reality show industry, ambitious viewers are following suit. Following the success of "America's Next Top Model" here, cable television also jumped onto the "reality survival show" bandwagon. Active viewers participate in programs, allowing a more "genuine" atmosphere. Mnet's "I am a Model" series, tvN's "Wind of the Goddess Survival Reporter", and Onmedia's "Singing in the SKY" have proven that viewers are not only interested in watching, but eager to join in and participate.

Instead of imitating other shows, some networks have come up with their own version of "reality", such as Mnet's "Five Men and a Baby Angel" or tvN's "Miss Sassy". "Five Men" combines reality entertainment with social issues. Aimed at raising awareness of adoption, five men live with an 11 month-old orphan, learning the hardships and joy of adoption. "Miss Sassy" is a documentary drama filmed on a 6-millimeter camera. Aiming for a realistic feel, it depicts the lives of everyday businessmen and women.

Many wonder how real reality shows are. Some participants may have been coached to act a certain way and editing can manipulate certain scenes. Also, critical viewers point out the shortage of professional judges in reality survival shows, copycat concepts and layouts and even the lack of reality itself.

The increasing number of reality programs, however, shows that viewers are drawn to them. The key to popularity lies in offering something new and attracting viewers to become attached to it. In that regard, "reality" is in.

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