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Canada’s CRTC introduces reality TV category for log books

Canada's TV watchdog looks to distinguish reality TV shows such as Top Chef Canada (pictured) from point-of-view documentaries.
July 5, 2011

The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has faced reality.

The broadcast regulator has added a new category, “reality television,” for broadcasters to enter on their programming log books.

The aim is to distinguish reality fare such as Jersey Shore and Big Brother from point-of-view documentaries.

“The commission noted that reality television programming can have documentary-like elements and that this type of programming could therefore be confused with what the commission currently defines as Category 2(b) long-form documentary,” the CRTC said in a June 30 decision.

The regulator also noted that reality television does not require the regulatory support long-form documentaries do as Canadian broadcasters increasingly bypass point-of-view documentaries for programming such as Battle of the Blades and Top Chef Canada (pictured) to boost ratings and ad revenue.

“Consequently, including reality television in the same category as long-form documentaries would be inconsistent with the objective of supporting programs of national interest,” the CRTC argued.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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