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25-Nov-2015 20:01

The major advertising players such as Leo Burnett are now even recruiting poets and theatre artists instead of hard-nosed sellers for the purpose, so I hear.Amid the frenzy, at the helm of the creativity cult, the liveliest genre on the set right now is combining the visceral impact of documentary with the story structure of scripted TV, and nailing “the hot-button cultural issues — class, sex, race –that respectable television rarely touches,” US reality producer Michael Hirschorn said in 2007.

In Australia contestants can end up anywhere from broke and bullied to going blind and suicidal.In the US, wannabe stars will resort to alcohol-fuelled punch ups or birthing their own babies on TV.Having sex on camera became the standard, even old-hat, years ago.Though it’s tempting to keep rehashing the widespread academic and other evidence of worker exploitation and stolen wages (US$40 million a year by New York based, non-scripted TV companies alone in 2013, according to the Writer’s Guild of America), pitifully cheap production values, links to mass plastic surgery, eating disorders and generally diminishing morality in audiences, “frankenbiting” (where dialogue is deceptively edited to create better stories), metadata surveillance, the impoverishment of public discourses and the fact the that the whole thing is predicated on being real when it is extraordinarily fake - there is another aspect to reality TV that makes it even worse. First of all, it has all but wiped from the broadest entertainment platform, one of the oldest occupations in history, the working actor. Choreographers, lighting designers, sound engineers and costume people are given the US (or Dutch) patent and told to make it feel just the same.Mirroring the spread of reality across broadcast and cable in the US, which now devotes almost half of all programming to the booming genre (generating US$6 billion in annual revenue), its appeal is as strong as ever - or “in full flower, both as a creative force and a business” as the New York Times reported in 2011.According to the world’s current “hero” of reality and creativity, Big Brother and The Voice creator Jon de Mol, “working on being creative in the TV world is endless. It’s a challenge that never disappears.” The insidious rise of reality television – or perhaps better named, “corporate television” - can be marked against what British sociologist Thomas Osborne calls the “creative economy”, a permanent hurricane of creative chatter driven by a new kind of moral imperative, and one with potentially moronic consequences.

The ever-expanding creative industries now stretch across design, fashion, software production, video games, marketing, advertising, pop music, the performing arts, publishing, philosophy, publicity, education, neuroscience, prison rehabilitation and beyond.

Managers workshop their staff into more “creative” productivity, and the seriously creative (or at least the best at monetising the craft), work out how to stop consumers clicking skip on the You Tube commercial.

Carla Rocavert does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

View the full list It might be hard to find two more laboured topics in the arts right now, but a good Google search reveals “creativity” and “reality television” are yet to go head to head in the same story. Reality television now dominates Australian TV screens.

While in 2014 only one scripted show INXS: Never Tear Us Apart made it into the top 20 most watched episodes (with reality and sport taking all other 19 positions), in 2013 reality made up 13 of the top 20 most watched episodes, alongside sport.