Reality television has the inexplicable quality to it that makes it utterly addicting to watch. To get technical, the genre kicked off back in the '70s, when PBS had the idea that every day people were worthy of their own show. Thus, An American Family was created in 1973, and the pull of voyeurism enamored 10 million viewers a week.
Reality television didn't have its heyday until later though, when the genre was practically reinvented with the inception of The Real World in 1992. It touted messy sexual flings and hormone-driven altercations, but it also featured conversations about sexuality, race, and addiction that we'd never seen before. One of our own mentors, Davis Mallory, from Shine was featured in the Real World franchise during their Denver spinoff.
When the COVID-19 shutdown began, Hollywood was scrambling to figure out how to continue work in a safe way. Due to many restrictions on and off set, the first shows to start back in production were in the unscripted space. Head of Unscripted at BTV, Joel Parent, weighed in on why reality tv is so crucial. "I get excited with every reality series we create cause you never know what is going to happen next.
Parent continued, "It's a cereal bowl of unexpected personality traits."
The power of reality television is undeniable at this point, and the influence it has truly runs the gamut. American Idol alone has given us several Grammy winners, an Emmy winner, Academy Award winner, and that one guy who sang “She Bangs.” Shows like Survivor and Drag Race have driven conversations about feminism, queerness, and race that scripted television often shies away from. Flavor of Love is responsible for a whole language of memes online. America’s most chaotic and bizarre genre will ultimately be looked back on as a case study in how pop culture has evolved with humanity. Now BTV, the digital studio responsible for the #1 competition digital series in America, takes their next unscripted challenges with a list of relatable talent
Shine has long become an online staple in music, entertaining family focused audiences, while diversity takes the forefront.
The series brings the Hollywood experience to the small town environment, instead of the other way around on bigger cable competitors. The show's demographic in 2019 was primarily 18-34 with the series reaching over hundreds of thousands of views. The third season premieres in 2021. Executive Producer, Derek Williams, told us "the show is going to brighten the beginning of the new year."
Also coming in 2021 is new series currently titled, Getaway. The series brings big personalities from various walks of life, as a group of unexpected friendships blossom. The series producers, including Parent and others, are still keeping the primary cast under wraps. BTV Insider does know Brandon Stewart, the hard nose judge from the series Shine, will appear.
Parent said other additions to the show will include: Matt Sarafa, Demetre Durham and Shaka Smith to name a few. Farrah Abraham is listed on IMDB, but it's unsure what role she will be involved.
One this is for certain, the reality television space is starting to cross into the world of digital media; and it seems BTV is ahead of the curve.