5 Reality Show TV Listings Foul-ups That’ll Get You Kicked Off The Island

fyi reality show tv listings
The reality show. Some can’t get enough of them. Others can’t get away from them fast enough.

But, as television’s ever-growing programming choice with a million different variations, it appears as if the reality show is here to stay. Along with all its variations, eliminations, immunities, alliances, and what have you.

Along with all those various types of shows goes the expertise and investigation that knows and understands all these shows. Plus the ability to describe them fully to the viewing audience.

Here are a few reality show TV listing mistakes guaranteed to get your thrown off the island:

1. NOT Understanding The Show.
If you don’t know the show, there’s no immunity for you.
Of course, if you OWN a television, you probably know that there are more reality shows in more varieties than can possibly be counted by conventional means.

And, each one has its own unique focus, game attributes, and methods of eliminating competitors.

Therefore, if you’re really going to communicate one of these shows to someone, knowledge of the program in question is vital. Otherwise, the description will be so generic as to only slightly brush against describing the program at hand.

reality tv show epg knowledge

Take this example from House Hunters International. (Just click the image to increase the size for your review.) The "good" version addresses elements key to the show's appeal--and adds detail that may a) interest new viewers and b) invigorate the current audience with relevant, show-centric information.

If your EPG does NOT demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the show, you’re not generating trust and confidence on the part of your viewership. More importantly, the description isn’t giving them the specific information they need to make a decision about the program.

Understanding—and communicating—the key elements of the reality show are essential to both describing the program while keeping descriptions fresh and appropriate.

2. NOT Updating The Results.
If you don’t know what happened, you can’t form an alliance.
Perhaps no other form of programming requires accurate post-verification and updates to descriptions than reality show programming.

Each week, by design, competitors are vying to either gain an immunity or avoid having to leave the competition. So, by design, each week features a different cast, the elimination of a competitor, and the stage is therefore set for the next week’s competition.

None of that information can be in the show description—or used to update the next episode’s description—till the completion of an episode.

reality show tv description updates

Our example is as plain as day. Dancing with the Stars followers love knowing the drama behind the previous week's events as they lead into the drama of this week's program. The personalities and their interactions are a crucial component of this show's appeal. Yet in the lesser example, not one of the participant's names is mentioned.

That’s why post-verification of descriptions is so important. A dedicated editor managing all the reality shows with thorough follow-up and updating of all programs in description form—so you know what ballads were sung by American Idol contestants, for example. Or, refreshing the upcoming episode’s description to reflect the events of the last show—and fully setting the stage for what’s going to happen on that episode with information gleaned from the last airing.

Without post-verification, you’re not illustrating the show’s progress. You’re just echoing the show’s description.

That we can, without question, verify for you.

3. NOT Highlighting Live Programs.
If you don’t tell them the show is live, you could wind up dead.
Reality shows, particularly as they near the end, can be LIVE.

In fact, one of the programs—Big Brother—is notoriously live every single episode.

So, what does the description of that program say? It hasn’t happened yet, so it can’t contain a true synopsis of the episode, can it?

live reality show tv descriptions

Another great reason to use post-verification administered by editors specializing in reality programming. Results of live programming are then reflected in updated descriptions of shows—and implemented in further descriptions to set the stage for the next upcoming episode.

Failing to update live program descriptions leave your viewers hanging adrift from an information perspective. When viewers don’t have complete information, they can’t make an informed decision. And that means they’ll gravitate toward programs they know and understand instead of ones with vague descriptions.

And that’s not a good thing whether it’s live or pre-recorded.

4. NOT Indicating Engagement Opportunities.
How are people supposed to vote if you don’t tell them they can?
Many reality shows require viewers to vote on who should stay and who should go.

How is a potential viewer to know that this is their opportunity to select who gets kicked off the program? Or who stays?

Obviously, an inkling of audience participation should be included in the description if the show is depending on viewers to weigh in on the outcome of the program.

engagement opportunities in reality tv listing descriptions

Above is yet another example where one screen is informing viewers that there is a voting component to American Idol--their chance to determine or participate in the outcome of the program. The other screen seems completely unaware.

Some of the biggest reality shows on TV require viewers to participate in the process. Since viewer participation is a big part of the show—make it part of the description.

At least that’s our vote.

5. NOT Noting Stage Of The Competition.
Can you really be the Top Chef if you don’t know when the finals are?
Just like a big sports tournament, the stage of a competition is a key decider in how interested a viewer might be.

Some people, for example, love the first rounds of American Idol where they’re treated to a bevy of “train wreck” contestants. Others prefer the finals where big stars have been launched.

But without knowing which stage of the competition you’re potentially viewing, the choice of making that decision has been taken out of your hands.

Monitoring and stating the stage of a competition informs a viewer as to both the events leading up to the episode in question, but also indicates how long a competition has been going on and how much further it can be expected to last.

stage of competition in reality show tv listing descriptions

Just look at the examples above. One EPG screen is well-informed that only two contestants will make it to the finals in Los Angeles. The other screen is apparently completely unaware that the finals will occur the following week--nor that this week will determine who goes.

Think of it. If a show is having a season finale, wouldn’t that affect your decision making process as opposed to a first round or mid-season episode?

Then your TV listings guide should reflect this information.

The reality of reality shows is that they’re constantly changing and updating. They have inherent and unique show content. The drama and surprises and twists of the shows that make them popular should also be reflected to some degree with a sense of the program in its description.

It’s television’s most ubiquitous programming. Leverage it into better informed viewer choices with robust, post-verified, and updated reality show descriptions.


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