Top TEN Reality TV Highlights Of 2012
This is an article I wrote late last year for Media Week Australia. It is my Top Ten Reality TV highlights of the year.
Obviously readers will agree with some and not others but let me know what were the highlights of the reality TV for you in 2012.
Top Ten Reality TV Highlights for 2012 From Reality Ravings
1. The Big Brother Proposal At The Finale
When Big Brother winner Benjamin Norris proposed to his partner Ben on live TV, it was not just a grand gesture of romance but a political statement. It made the revamped Big Brother Australia finale memorable and got the country talking.
2. Keith Urban On The Voice
The Voice was a monster hit for Channel NINE, and viewers fell in love with expat Aussie Keith Urban and his Calvin’s. Unfortunately his stella reality TV presence did not go unnoticed and American Idol snapped him up.
3. Disabled Contestants Break Through
Stunt casting or not reality TV is doing for the disabled what it has done for gays and people from different ethnic backgrounds – giving them a profile. Blind Rachel Leahcar made it to the final of The Voice, Sticky who was born without his left forearm showed he was more competent than his partner Sam on The Amazing Race Australia, and a blind woman won Masterchef US. The trend appears set to continue with a deaf chef cast in Masterchef: The Professionals.
4. My Kitchen Rules Casting
My Kitchen Rules was the highest rating cooking show in 2012 and a reason for this was because of the cast. There was villain Peter who had strong opinions on other peoples meals but had to chop up beans individually. There was Princess Jen, Tom and Carly and bringing in a team from New Zealand Meg and Simon was inspired – just as long as they did not win of course.
5. High Production Values on Australian Shows On Foxtel
Foxtel showed even though their ratings were much lower than free to air stations they were not going to skimp on production values. Project Runway Australia, Grand Designs, and Selling Houses Australia are just a few examples slick shows filled with quality content.
6. Masterchef Australia Proves It Is Still A Strong Brand
Shine Australia took Masterchef Australia back to its roots and showed the franchise is still strong and is the backbone of TEN programming. It continues to produce spin-offs with the All Stars and next year the resurgence of the brand will continue with Masterchef: The Professionals.
7. The Year Of Social Media
Reality shows continued to embrace the use of the social media. Most of the big shows had viewers tweets flash up on screen and were promoting hashtags to use. The conversations moved from the Network’s websites to their official Facebook pages. Also for the first time fans were able to vote via Facebook.
8. International Emmy To The Amazing Race Australia
The Amazing Race Australia beat other international shows to win a prestigious Emmy award. It is slightly ironic the reality show can be critically acclaimed but at this stage the future of the show is unknown.
9. Brynne: My Bedazzled Life Showed How To Do Scripted Reality
Networks struggled with semi scripted reality TV this year However Brynne: My Bedazzled Life was a diamond amongst the rough. The drama with her and her husband occurred both on and off screen, and Brynne again proved she is likeable, “real”, and entertaining.
10.The Year Of The Villain
This year the villain broke through and not only had starring roles in reality shows but also won them! Ben who played a bitchy and manipulative game won Big Brother. Also Princess Jen was a worthy winner on My Kitchen Rules. Reality TV viewers showed increasing sophistication wanting the most entertaining to win rather than the nicest. In fact All Stars series, like Masterchef and The Block deliberately cast popular villains from previous seasons to attract viewers.