ASSESSMENT OF THE MORAL IMPLICATION OF REALITY SHOW AMONG YOUTH A STUDY OF BIG BROTHER NAIJA
Since the turn of the century, reality television has come to dominate both cable and broadcast primetime television programming schedules. In this context, reality television is described as a show without actors in which the general audience can participate as a contestant. While technically any type of live, unscripted, or non-fiction program is reality TV, this examination excludes news, interviews, and talk show type programs that were popular on television previously, and instead focuses on competitive and entertainment reality TV programs. What those in the television industry understand is that reality television is the most profitable form of television programming because it has lower production costs and frequently attracts more viewers and advertising revenue than other forms of television programming.
Reality television is a broad category that encompasses a wide range of shows aiming to be both factual and entertaining. This genre has become the most popular program among viewers and has filtered into African society. The youth, especially those between the ages of 18 and 25, are clearly showing a preference for reality television. Four characteristics, including the attempted use of passive camera surveillance, illusion of reality, focus on regular people, and a certain amount of voyeurism, can be used to summarize reality television as a whole. Although all reality shows have these characteristics, it is challenging to categorize reality television as a standalone genre because it draws from a variety of other genres.
According to various researchers’ definitions of reality television, there are three sub-genres of factual entertainment: observation programs, information programs, and programming made specifically for television, as stated by Hill (2002:326). Documentaries concerning common people in common settings are referred to as observation programs. Documentaries based on genuine tales that try to inform viewers about topics like pets and medical issues are examples of informational programming. According to Malakoff (2005) and Roscoe (2001), reality television shows include actual people who are frequently put in unusual circumstances and have every instant of their interactions with their environment captured on camera. As a result, the traditional lines between fact and fiction, drama and documentary, and between the audience and the text are blurred, as further noted by Roscoe (2001).
A concept from George Orwell’s fictional dystopia of Oceania, a world of constant surveillance in the novel 1984, is borrowed for the television program Big Brother, which forces a group of people to live together in a big house, cut off from the outside world, and under constant camera surveillance. Big Brother, whose horrifying catchphrase is “Big Brother is watching you,” is the ruler who keeps watch over Oceania’s inhabitants. In the reality television series Big Brother, the house-bound players battle to avoid eviction in order to earn the cash prizes.
The African version of the reality game show Big Brother has an estimated audience of more than forty million (40,000,000) viewers across the continent.