The Reality TV Controversies


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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG013
Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 2001 - 2002
Pub. Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Fox TV, Parents TV Council
Industry : Media, Entertainment and Information
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"TV networks are willing to do anything to get ratings, including being controversial."

- Ritchie Lucas, President and CEO, Creatability ad agency, Florida, in March 2002.

"The audience has spoken, and they've demonstrated they have a huge appetite for this kind of programming."

- Sandy Grushow, Fox TV Entertainment Group, in January 2001.

A Series of Controversies

In January 2001, religious and conservative pressure groups worldwide (America, Europe, Australia and Asia) protested strongly against the airing of, 'Temptation Island,' a TV show.

The show, belonging to the genre of reality TV, was made by the US media house Fox TV (Fox TV). It was designed to 'test the fidelity' of four unmarried but committed couples, who were taken to an exotic island, where 26 singles tried to lure them so that they would cheat on their partners.

Whoever succeeded in remaining faithful to his/her partner was declared the winner.

Critics of the program demanded a ban on it on the grounds that it promoted illicit sex and endangered the relationship between the participating couples.

A spokesman for the American Family Association, Randall Murphree, remarked, "Even the trailers for the show were enough to upset conservative organizations and various religious groups."The activists, in their campaign, publicized the advertisers' identity and encouraged the public to compel the advertisers to boycott the show.

Though Fox TV authorities argued that the focus of Temptation Island was on exploring the dynamics of serious relationships and not on sex, the fact that Fox screened all contestants taking part in the show for sexually transmitted diseases weakened its arguments.

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