US sending shows to Europe, but cultural differences still create challenges.

US sending shows to Europe, but cultural differences still create challenges.
While imported reality TV shows from Europe helped to jump-start the reality television bulldozer that started plowing through the networks and cable channels, the US is now sending its shows overseas. And it’s financially lucrative; today, “Europe represents 75% of the revenues American distributors pocket from licensing their shows around the world,” Variety reports. As the paper points out, however, “the challenge when reality TV crosses borders is that it must adapt formats to local tastes. Differences in what makes pop culture pop can make translation difficult.” Among those differences, according to some analysts: “Americans … are interested in victory, Europeans in defeat: Euros want to see ordinary Joes and over-the-hill celebs fail; Yanks, these Euros believe, relish dramas with a happy ending.” And there are also differences in content: “U.S. shows can come across as overly produced and too glamorous, while Europeans prefer the fly-on-the-wall approach to documenting reality.”

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.