City Research Online

Ordinary lives – extraordinary journeys: Television entertainment from game shows to reality TV

Chalaby, J. K. ORCID: 0000-0002-8250-0361 (2024). Ordinary lives – extraordinary journeys: Television entertainment from game shows to reality TV. Media Culture and Society, doi: 10.1177/01634437241237954


This article defends the thesis that game shows were a key influence in the development of reality TV, and understanding the latter depends on our knowledge of the former. The first section addresses the knowledge gap about game shows and asks the following questions: What are they made of, and what are the core elements that distinguish them from any other genre? The second part examines the relationship between game shows and reality programming. This article highlights the similarities between the two genres and demonstrates that the latter adopted many of the storytelling techniques pioneered by the former. Thus, this research seeks to make a double contribution to media and communication studies: it addresses a knowledge gap and thinks about game shows in relation to another TV genre. From a theoretical perspective, this research mixes a sociological approach to discourse with practice-oriented narrative analysis. It uses secondary and primary sources, which consist of interviews with UK-based TV executives and producers.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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