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.”

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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.