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
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.