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Media expert: Reality shows make a spectacle of 'working class misfortune'

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thursday, 16 May 2019, 7:31PM
Reality TV is under the spotlight after the death of a Jeremy Kyle participant. (Photo / Getty)

Reality shows are offering ways for people to sort out their problems. 

ITV in the UK has cancelled the Jeremy Kyle show after the death of a guest.

The guest died shortly after filming an episode where he failed a lie detector test over alleged infidelity.

Media expert Rosemary Overall told Heather du Plessis-Allan this kind of show makes a spectacle out of "working class misfortune".

"It's about romance or there's other shows about people getting people off drugs, or in this case, policing people's marriages and child rearing."

She says that shows like Jeremy Kyle can offer a "maintenance or well-being" for people who can't get treatment through health services, which then sees the people get taken advantage of. 

Overall says even shows like Love Island can over-dramatise ordinary people's lives. 

"People crave an affirmation of who they are, whether they really are in love with someone or can find true love on the match making, or in this case, if they are the true father."  

She says a Jeremy Kyle contestant tends to people who are more marginalised, while Bachelor or Married at First Sight contestants are more media-savvy and know how to handle their career or image. 

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