Reality shows as writing inspiration

I have a love/hate relationship with reality TV shows. On one hand I genuinely worry that they are in danger of diluting the pool of decent TV shows to the extent that no one will know what it means to write a compelling series anymore, and on the other hand I think they can be a fantastic resource for writers – think of the exposure to people you would never come across in your day-to-day life shows like Big Brother offer.

While I find many reality offerings rather exploitative, a selection of American talk shows for example, there are some that at least do seem to offer something like decent advice and support for their participants. Not that that’s done the Jeremy Kyle show many favours recently. But when I’m not squirming at the horror of seeing the hopes, fears and dreams of some teenage girl dashed on screen, I’m busy filing mental notes about exactly the way she looked as she realised the world didn’t work the way she’d always assumed.

I also find that it salves the conscience to assume that there are different categories of reality TV show and that some are worse than others. For example, ‘fat kids humiliated in camp’ could have future benefits for the child while ‘I’m addicted to meth, attention and public breakdowns’ probably doesn’t. Shows like the Secret Millionaire however, well, I just can’t see a single bad side to them. Except that the heart warming reaffirmation we receive at the end of every programme doesn’t exactly provide me with juicy material!

8 thoughts on “Reality shows as writing inspiration

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. Wiki’d it and the format looks familiar though, maybe I’ve seen a UK rip-off 🙂

      Looks more interesting than some of the stuff that gets churned out to say the least.


  1. Good post. You kinda touched on how I feel when I see a horrible news story and it gives me ideas for writing. Mmph. Somehow it never seems quite the same for happy stories… is there even such a thing as a story that has no conflict? Riddle me this Zee!

    Hey maybe that could be the topic for my first ever blog post!

    If I didn’t hate myself too much to get one 🙂


  2. I’m going to be on the lookout for hidden cameras in my flat now. Though knowing you, they’ll fall down at some point.

    I still remember that day I was sitting on Cuba and you must’ve looked over cos you Skyped me and asked me to send you the news article I was looking at cos it looked horrible but interesting. It was probably about like some mad child killer or something. Good times!


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