Reality TV Highlights – The Top Ten Of 2011
This is an article I wrote for Media Week Australia:
Top Ten Highlights On Reality TV in 2011
1. The Social Media Space Exploded
Every Network hit Twitter and Facebook with a vengeance. Reality shows came with hash tags, and the cast and contestants were connecting with their fans which enhanced their own and the shows popularity. Barry Dubois and Matt Preston were two of the most prolific in the area. Expect to see more of this in 2012.
2. The Amazing Race Australia Lived Up To The Pre-Publicity Hype
Grant Bowler said it was better than the US version and it was. Not only was it fast paced and exciting, it also challenged stereotypes with the favourite team being two young Islamic guys, Mo and Mos, who charmed Australia with their self-deprecating wit.
3. Reality TV Taking Back The 7pm timeslot
Channel Nine stripped The Block stuck it on at 7.00pm and struck ratings gold. Even the fizzer of the finale where only one of the houses sold could not tarnish the glow of the series. Channel 9 did the same with Celebrity Apprentice, and in 2012 it will be all reality in that timeslot.
4. The year of the design and renovation show turned into the year of the talent show.
The much hyped The Renovators and Top Design underperformed, but Seven’s talent shows, Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor were rating winners on the back of two teenage talents Jack Vidgen and Reece Mastin.
5. Reality TV genres merging and working
Channel 7 had King Midas’s touch when it came to reality TV in 2011, even when they mixed the cooking and dating genres for the show Dinner Date. This on paper sounded dubious however it surprisingly worked.
6. Big Brother Returning
Even though Big Brother was not on TV screens this year, the announcement of its return created many column inches and discussion over the months. If it wasn’t about if it was coming back, it was about the host, how to apply or where the house will be. Sonia Kruger has defected to NINE to take on the crucial role of host of the show.
7. The Splitting of the Masterchef Finale
Channel Ten’s angered fans when they split the Masterchef finale into two sections to wedge The Renovators in-between. Instead of attracting fans to the new show it repelled them. It was the worst programming decision of the year, and possibly the decade.
8. The Kardashian Wedding
Even though very few Australian’s actually watched it, the engagement, wedding and subsequent divorce received more coverage then the royal wedding. It also was raised the issue of whether the whole event had been more about endorsements, then love, to generate more cash for the Kardashian reality TV empire.
9. The Masterchef brand became fallible
Masterchef Australia was one of the highest rating shows on TV in 2011, however it was deemed to have not been as successful due to the loss of fans. The poor ratings of Junior Masterchef confirmed the leading reality franchise in Australia had lost its spark.
10. Memorable Reality TV Villains
Reality TV is nothing without its villains, and 2011 brought a new batch. There was angry Chris, and super intense Joey and Richard from The Amazing Race. Sun, Dani and Matt from Masterchef. Deni Hines and Jason Coleman from Celebrity Apprentice. Also Mel and James from MKR and Joe from The Biggest Loser attracted criticism early were forgotten about by years end.