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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.


1 brain dead dave { 12.20.11 at 3:53 pm }

Ch 9 can shove whatever they want up their 7 o’ clock timeslot. I ‘d sooner eat shit than watch The Block.

Cops on One for me.

2 Reality Raver { 12.20.11 at 6:05 pm }

BDD – have to confess I am kind of looking forward to Excess Baggage, though it is going head to head The Biggest loser – the fatties fornicating series.

3 ExEssex { 12.20.11 at 6:06 pm }

Thanks for another year of fun RR

4 Reality Raver { 12.20.11 at 6:16 pm }

Thank you guys. The blog is nothing without its community. Over 14,000 this year. Fantastic.

5 SEDI { 12.20.11 at 6:53 pm }

Youve hit the nail on the head, RR! (and that was not meant to be a renovators pun…)

I think its great we are starting to see reality television dominate our television screens again.

What 9 did with CelebApprentice, in that it was a short, intense run over a few weeks, really worked. People didn’t get tired that way, unlike Masterchef. I see potential for this strategy even with something like BB.

I think you are going to be very busy next year with the influx of reality television on 9, RR!

6 sonia { 12.20.11 at 7:06 pm }

I really got into The Biggest Loser this year. It was a crack up. And I loved the comments here about it.

RR, do you really think Mat was a villain, I thought he was quite sweet and now I will forever be wondering how far he would’ve/could’ve gone if it wasn’t for that bloody phone.

7 smauge { 12.20.11 at 7:47 pm }

Worst decision of the decade? Big call in the first year LOL!
I’ve seen the ads this week for Excess Baggage – Can. Not. Wait. As for 7pm time slot – I still love my Project! Thanl goodness I have TiVo, Bluray recorder, TV in the bedroom, websites showing encores…

8 Culinary Boner { 12.20.11 at 10:42 pm }

My villain of the year? – Bendeguz.
The last time I saw THAT MO it’s owner was tying a damsel to a train line. Dastardly, just dastardly. What was that muttley? Quit that sniggering!

9 Chunks { 12.21.11 at 12:00 am }

Looks like MKR is winding up the audience with their villain couple already!

10 brain dead dave { 12.21.11 at 3:39 pm }

I’m waitning keenly for The Biggest Loser- then we’ll really see some stuffed turkeys.