Reality TV is popular with viewers in America. Absurdly popular, in fact. The reality shows cover every subject you can think of. Mechanics, cooking, modeling, buying a wedding dress, hunting and fishing, how to put nice outfits together, and of course, the journey to find love.

Don't believe everything you see

Season after season fans tune in to keep up with the stars of their favorite Reality Show. Viewers feel that they know the cast on a personal level because it is reality TV with no script, right?

Well, that may not be so true of all of the shows. While it is impossible to discern the reality of a series from what is scripted, every once in a while a participant speaks out to confirm what most suspect. The production of a reality series is worried about the same thing as a scripted show - the Ratings. At times this means they are stirring up things with the cast of the shows in order to make it more entertaining to the viewers. On "Cajun Justice," for example, in the pilot of the series, there was a particularly bad guy the parish sheriff apprehended that was, in reality, a deputy playing a role.

I met him and had this conversation at a premiere party.

All television shows are in the business of making money. Without viewers, there are no advertisers. Without advertisers, the show is a flop. Money has to come in to cover the production of the show as well as line the pockets of those at the top of the television food chain.

Some states offer tax breaks to the TV channel

Reality TV became popular with networks because of the cost.

To produce a reality show, the cost is a lot less than producing a show with sets and famous actors playing the roles. Add that to the tax breaks some states give to the television networks for bringing the production of a show to their state, and you have a recipe for spending less. After all, the state is getting tons of free advertising for would-be visitors to get a glimpse of what the state has to offer.

Louisiana, for example, is much more than New Orleans and Mardi Gras, as "Swamp People" has shown viewers. I live next door to some of the fisherman from the show and can attest personally to the tourists who ride by looking for my well-known neighbors. They come from all over the country for the chance to meet them, get a picture and an autograph.

The viewers of these reality shows feel they know the people on them. Each week they tune in and invite them into their home for an hour to see their latest antics. Fans see them struggle, both succeeding and falling short. Fans watch them as they bring family traditions into play and depend on the lessons of their ancestors for success.

Of course, viewers feel they are getting a true and accurate portrayal, but remember, it is still television and ratings and profits are the bottom line.

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