Are reality shows scripted

Is everything fake on TV?

The "greatest TV experiment of all time" lasted exactly 49 days, then it became the biggest TV laughing stock of the year. No rules, no stage directions - that was the promise with which Sat.1 advertised the reality show "Newtopia". Many believed the station. Until one night an employee of the Talpa TV production company walked into the human zoo, which was equipped with 104 cameras, to discuss the future of the show with its inmates. Just stupid that someone slept in the control room and the nightly break was streamed live on the network. "Newtopia" was exposed as Faketopia.

Many saw themselves confirmed in their general suspicion that everything on television was fake anyway. Media scientist Prof. Joan Bleicher was also hardly surprised by the incident: "Everything that is presented in the media as reality is ultimately a construction," says the reality TV expert. The "everything fake" attitude is too undifferentiated for her. "There are nuances on the scale between fact and fiction."

When the guests ring the doorbell at the "Perfect Dinner" and are greeted with a big hello, this is of course a posed and usually repeatedly rehearsed scene. And if the husband yells around in "Frauentausch" because the dishes haven't been done, it's not a spontaneous upsurge: Rather, the director might have urged him to show how terribly upset the dirty dishes are - with a little more vigor, please ! The insidious thing about this: the actors are in many cases not aware of the course of the plot, the role they are supposed to play in it, and the fatal effect of their actions on the screen.

Tears lie
Why do GNTM candidates often cry in front of the camera? Because the makers know: tears don't lie. They are the ultimate expression of the authentic. What she really let down remains the secret of the mighty top models. Especially in programs that rely on so-called confrontainment, the makers purposefully stir up conflicts.

If the candidates do not work in the interests of the makers - not that bad either, because after the shoot there is still plenty of opportunity to spice up the reality for television. The cutter assembles the material into an exciting plot that may or may not correspond to the real thing. It is only in the cutting room that C-celebrities who are bored in the Australian "jungle" become heroes and fools in the great world theater called "I am a star - get me out of here".

"If role models are stereotypical and courses of action are repeated all the time, everything indicates that what is shown has little to do with reality," says Joan Bleicher. The show producers shouldn't make it too easy for themselves. The viewer must not feel led by the nose. The YouTube generation in particular has a keen sense for fakes and an aversion to artificial things that appear to be authentic.

Two heroes demonstrate to the young viewers how to deal coquettishly with the formed TV reality. If, for example, Joko and Klaas are briefly seen in the audience of their own show in "Circus Halligalli", the smart media consumer understands this as an ironic hint. At shows, it's common to take pictures of enthusiastic viewers during the warm-up. They will then be inserted into the finished editing version. During the actual recording, all cameras can remain focused on what is happening on the stage. "Don't believe everything you see on television," is Jokos and Klaas' winking message.

From fake to fake
What is real and what is fake on TV? Nobody is playing virtuoso jokes with this question as Jan Böhmermann. His fake video about the middle finger of Yanis Varoufakis (#Varoufakefake) even made international headlines. The talk show "Roche und Böhmermann" cultivated the failed conversation about the art form and exposed the hollow rituals of the genre. Conclusion: television is always staging. It should just be honest enough not to present its contents to us as unvarnished reality. In that sense, the "Newtopia" incident was one of the most honest TV moments of the year.Christian Holst