Prime Time Is White, Reality TV Is Real

Scripted shows still focused on white rich people
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 17, 2009 8:22 PM CST
This image released by CBS, shows couples set to compete in 'The Amazing Race 14.'   (AP Photo/Robert Voets)
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(Newser) – Another way reality TV is “realer” than its scripted cousin: Its diverse casts reflect the population, while scripted TV sticks to stories about young, well-off white people, writes Greg Braxton in the Los Angeles Times. “We're looking to create shows that everyday people can relate to," says an NBC exec, who in one instance bypassed an "over-the-top" white character in favor of a Latino. "That's how important that is."

While Braxton notes that reality’s trend toward diversity could break barriers for TV in general, "I don't believe the makers of unscripted programs are necessarily all pro-social," says Real World co-creator Jonathan Murray. "A lot of times it comes down to the fact that diversity"—and the conflict and drama that can stem from clashes of race, class, and sexual orientation—"just makes those shows better."