*****Apologies to readers who do not get this show in their country. This assignment was given in an Australian school, so the TV references may not be relevant to others.*****
WHAT IS QUALITY TELEVISION?
In the opinion of a Soapie lover; 'Home and Away' would be a television program of much higher quality than 'Big Brother'. My argument is that, in their own way, they are both quality. Variables to be considered when judging the quality of a program are: entertainment value; compliance to genre's key elements; audience involvement and social relevance.
I say this because, firstly: the primary function of television is to entertain, secondly: although one may not like a certain genre, it does not mean its programs are of low quality, thirdly: connection with the audience earns bonus points in any performance; live or on-screen and finally: television programs should be topical and relevant to the society they are targeting.
A writer for AdAge Global suggest that "[p]art of the appeal of programs like Big Brother is the ability for viewers to feel 'involved'." (2001:37) and Big Brother certainly plays up that technique. The housemates discuss the same things the viewers talk about amongst their friends, they share experiences the viewers can relate to and possess characteristics the viewers can recognise in their own character. Once the viewer feels like part of the program, watching it will become a habit. Plus, the viewers feel like they can make a difference to the final outcome (by voting which housemate should be eliminated). Big Brother does not stop there however, and introduces more specific audience involvement by running numerous competitions across their programs. In this light, Big Brother is not just a Reality TV show; it also incorporates features from the Game Show genre.