Real People And The Rise Of Reality Television by Michael MckennaReal People And The Rise Of Reality Television by Michael Mckenna

Real People And The Rise Of Reality Television

byMichael Mckenna

Hardcover | June 25, 2015

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The origins of, and in many ways the prototype for, modern reality programming can be traced to Real People, a show that premiered on the NBC network in April of 1979. An instant ratings success, Real People appealed to an audience that clamored for stories about "everyday" men and women. In the wake of the show's success, a rash of imitators followed, so that what had started out as a counter-programming gamble became the norm, and now the television airwaves are littered with reality shows.In Real People and the Rise of Reality Television, Michael McKenna looks at the show that started a trend in television viewing, one that now permeates not only the major networks but almost all of cable channels as well. McKenna traces the history of reality programming back to the early days of television up to the late 1970s when networks were beginning to take a chance on non-scripted prime time shows. The author provides an in-depth look at how the show evolved from profiles of peculiar characters to an almost weekly display of hyper-patriotism, largely fueled by a desperate desire to recover from the disappointments and dislocations of the 1970s. McKenna also charts the rise of shows that aimed to duplicate Real People's success-both in prime time and at other hours: That's Incredible!, The People's Court, COPS, America's Funniest Home Videos, and MTV's The Real World.
Michael McKenna teaches history at Farmingdale State College. His primary research interests are urban history and American popular culture, particularly television programming. He is the author of The ABC Movie of the Week: Big Movies for the Small Screen (2013).
Title:Real People And The Rise Of Reality TelevisionFormat:HardcoverDimensions:274 pages, 9.25 × 6.3 × 0.95 inPublished:June 25, 2015Publisher:Rowman & Littlefield PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442250534

ISBN - 13:9781442250536

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Editorial Reviews

McKenna traces the history of reality television, a decades-old style of programming with seemingly no end of viewers.  He argues that modern reality programming, as a genre, started with Real People, a show that aired on NBC from 1979 to 1984 and influenced future shows in the reality television genre.  The author provides in-depth discussion of Real People, examining how it managed to capture a huge audience.  Watching individuals who are 'average Americans,' albeit in often odd and 'not average' situations, seems to have vast appeal, as evidenced by the creation of numerous cable channels centering on the genre.  An appendix includes a map of Real People filming locations (shows were shot in all 50 states), an episode guide detailing each show and its participants, and a list of nationally broadcast reality-themed shows from 1976 to 1992.  This volume joins a growing literature on reality television. . . .Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.