Reality TV has existed for a long, long time. We used to call them TV documentaries - albeit short ones that didn't have a three month run or have premium rate telephone numbers.
In recent years, television viewers across the globe have been bombarded with new talent shows, 24 hour game shows and footage of celebrities (or even non-celebs) in their homes. From Big Brother to X-Factor, the public have lapped it all up - but has it been a good ride? Is it possible that 'reality TV' has done all sorts of negative things for society?
Take X-Factor for instance. It's a phenomenon. A ratings winner. There are only a few people on this earth that have it all. 'All' being a great singing voice - and perhaps an infectious personality? Individual style? Humour? Good looks?
The public suddenly realised that anyone regardless of age, looks and background can be a star. It's as simple as turning up for an audition, winning a place on a TV show and the rest is history. It's not really that simple though is it? Someone should tell the millions of people across the globe that believe they are the next big thing.
What about Big Brother? Talent doesn't even need to be an issue here. A big personality is the key. Perhaps an outrageous wardrobe? A funny voice? A sob story? If you have all of the above then you've maybe got a ticket to celebrity life forever (or at least 3 or 4 years).
Yes, some reality TV shows tell us that you don't need an education or a particular talent to be fabulously rich. We can all name people that have built massively successful careers out of reality TV.
I have no problem with anyone that has done well for themselves via reality TV, but are they really good role models? Don't scoff at that comment. For some people, reality stars are role models. That's a fact and there are thousands of fans to prove it. Just ask most Jordan or Kerry Katona fans?
As long as we are fed reality TV shows, there will always be some mediocre, young wannabe wasting his or her life away on a dream that just won't ever come true. All because he or she truly thought that 'it could happen to me'. I hope that there aren't too many people putting off university education to audition for a show, but there probably are.
What about the losers of the shows? The small few that get so far but don't make the grade and are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered dreams. They might make a few grand from a few more interviews and then it's back to working in B&Q. That must be hard to handle. One week they are on national TV watched by millions - three weeks later, they are serving people on the tills and wondering where life is going to take them - or worse, still hopeful and hanging onto an unrealistic dream?
With this genre, the public has also learnt much about what goes on behind the scenes. Gone are the days when a new pop star appeared on the scene, shiny and glistening with perfection. Now we all witness the rags to riches stories in pure HD. Cheryl Cole's wonky teeth and wild eyebrows. Who'd have thought that there was such a stunningly beautiful woman under there? All it took was some cosmetic dentistry, a stylist, several beauty therapists and thousands of pounds. Easy peasy!
We see the managers, the judges, the choreographers, photographers and crew. We witness the decision making. The signing of contracts. It's not a mystery anymore. Is the twist in the story an amazing reality or is it a carefully planned and scripted strategy developed by a production team? Nobody knows what to think anymore. Is Amelia's (UK X-Factor) shock return to the show something more sinister? Probably not. We've all been let down by so many media outlets that it's hard to know who to believe.