Reality TV is more than just a passing fad. After the first episodes of Survivor in 2000, it was pretty clear that reality TV is here to stay. Sometimes being on a reality TV shows propels participants to success, even if it one lands on a competition reality TV series and does not win the competition. Elisabeth Hasselbeck went from Survivor to hosting the View and Jennifer Hudson lost American Idol, but won an Oscar for her part in Dream girls. But not everybody is prepared to grip their new found fame.
Loss of Privacy
Landing on a reality TV show propels one into the spotlight. Many people feel like they know the participants in a reality TV show, although they have never met them. It is quite easy to understand this phenomenon- you welcome these people into your home every week, and the way that most reality TV shows are filmed make it seem like participants is speaking directly to you. However, if participants go home, many of them are unable to return to their normal lives. Cast members of reality TV shows are often stopped in the course of their daily activities, sometimes for an autograph or a photo, other times to hear what they thought of their contribution to the show. It is difficult for most participants of reality TV due to this lack of anonymity, especially those who feel they were not a favorable member of the show.
Family and Relationships
Appearing on a reality TV show can have a negative impact on the family and relationships of the cast members. Some relatives of the participants reported that they were approached by fans, mostly to complain about the actions of their son or daughter. A reality show can also have a tremendous amount of pressure on a relationship. Most reality TV shows are shot in the course of several months, during which participants are isolated from family and friends. This can be difficult in itself for a relationship. But sometimes the most stressful part is the action of the participants at the show. There have been cases in which a participant has cheated on their significant other while on a show and others who were simply shocked at how their partner played the game.
There are many participants who have been affected by their jobs to go on a reality TV show. A show like The Apprentice may be grounds to hire someone. But if you’re on a show that involves lying and cheating, employers may notice and will not be as quick to hire you. Many times participants of reality TV shows list “model” or “bartender” as their profession because in these roles one has the flexibility to take off from work for 2-3 months with no questions asked. But participants who are lawyers or doctors find it difficult to go back to their practices. Many lawyers are no longer active as a lawyer.
There are not many studies on the effect of being on a reality television show is in the long term. But the few articles are available mentioned that most needed ongoing support from a mental health professional after the show has been completed. And, for the most part, this is not an outcome individuals consider when pursuing reality TV shows.