ERIC Number: ED360063
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
An Analysis of the Formal Features of "Reality-Based" Television Programs.
Neapolitan, D. M.
Reality-based television programs showcase actual footage or recreate actual events, and include programs such as "America's Most Wanted" and "Rescue 911." To identify the features that typify reality-based television programs, this study conducted an analysis of formal features used in reality-based programs. Formal features are defined as specific production techniques that are independent of content, message, or story. These features include cuts, dissolves, fades, zooms, voice characterizations, sound effects, and music. Samples of programming broadcast by the ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox networks were collected for analysis. Programs were classified into six categories: (1) humorous reality; (2) serious reality; (3) serious re-enactment; (4) humorous fictional, or situation comedies; (5) serious fictional, or dramas; and (6) factual, or primetime news. Based on Nielsen ratings for March and May of 1992, the three top rated programs from each of the six categories were selected, and one example of each program was videotaped. Two 5-minute segments from each program were selected for coding, and trained coders analyzed formal features of these segments. Analysis revealed that serious re-enactment and serious reality programs were similar to primetime news programs in terms of their formal features, and trained coders had difficulty in accurately distinguishing these two categories of reality-based programs from news programs. (MM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A