In the age of digital media, entertainment is king, regardless of origin. One need not look very far to see the incredible impact digital trends have had on the media industry as a whole. While other television genres are skyrocketing, the realm of reality television outmatches nearly every other competitor. In 2013 alone, over fifty percent of primetime audiences were watching their favorite reality TV show (Webster). According to polls done at the turn of the twenty first century, over sixty-eight percent of the American population between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine would say that they like or love to watch reality television shows on a consistent basis (Oregon). For many audience members, the draw is solely product-based, whereas the objective for a producer lies in the reality show’s profits. Certain reality shows run a price margin that is nearly a third of their dramatic or comedic peers. For comparison, “Friends—a scripted hit with actors who get more expensive with every contract—is the old-line antithesis of Survivor, a moneymaking machine with disposable stars and no writers” (Oregon). Reality programming seeks to sift through and capitalize on ideas that serve both ends well, satisfying the market and the television industry. To Catch a Predator, an NBC Dateline ‘reality’ show based around luring and arresting potential child predators, is one such show. For many, the show is harmless fun, perhaps even doing the public a favor by exposing ‘less-desirables’ in communities. For others, it raises some important, irreparable issues within ethic and legal systems.

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Television Commons