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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
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.

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