Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Patrick Van Horn

Reader 2

Elizabeth Affuso

Reader 3

Sean Flynn


Previous literature has confirmed that reality television is less expensive to produce than scripted. This paper investigates both how production costs have developed overall, and how and why they differ between the two genres of scripted and unscripted television. After interviewing professionals in the industry, the results shed light on how the production processes have key differences, perhaps most important being the writer’s presence or lack thereof. The results expose reality television’s function in streaming platforms as retainment content. Streaming platforms are also examined as a catalyst for change in the industry’s landscape, bringing many disruptions along with them. Ad-based and subscription-based platforms are compared. Brand identities are detailed as a major component in the decision of how much reality television each company produces.