Scripted Reality

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Scripted Reality , script docu, pseudo docu or pseudo docu soap is a genre of reality TV in which the documentation of real events is simulated. The scenes are played by actors (mostly amateur actors ) according to the direction ( script ).

The television broadcasters (deliberately) misleadingly refer to many of these series as " docu-soaps ". Also in the literature there is not always a clear separation of the two genres , both terms are used synonymously .

Due to the convergence of the media in digital space ( media convergence ), scripted reality experiments were carried out in the tabloid press .

Style and content

The topics are mostly everyday, interpersonal situations that are intended to create the appearance of a documentary or a report by means of planned dramaturgical staging (screenplay / script) . This methodology allows the director to make the show look relatively real.

The main features are:

  • documentary style as a dramaturgical means (feigning authenticity )
  • All characters act according to a script .
  • Acting persons are mostly played by cast amateur actors .
  • a certain tendency towards voyeurism and vulgarity
  • The fictitious stories often use existing prejudices.
  • in Germany there is often a note in the credits: "All the people involved are fictitious."


Perception and criticism

The program Panorama dealt with the topic under the title “Das Lügenfernsehen”.

Subsequent to this, since July 2011 there has been increasing discussion about the mandatory labeling of Scripted Reality . The media policy spokesman for the CDU / CSU parliamentary group, Wolfgang Börnsen , said: “We cannot afford to provide information only through a conciliation program.” Former Federal Minister Christian Schwarz-Schilling called for “clear identification of fiction in the information program”. Christian Körner, spokesman for the TV broadcaster RTL, pointed out, however, that these afternoon programs are clearly shown as entertainment. Media expert and head of the German Digital Institute Jo Groebel complains: "You can criticize a lot about these formats, the way they are labeled, for example."

A study by the Society for the Promotion of International Youth and Educational Television revealed in 2011, after surveying 861 schoolchildren, that only 22 percent of viewers between the ages of 6 and 18 recognize scripted reality programs as fictional. Almost half believe that real cases are being re-enacted, and 30 percent believe that the actual experiences of the people shown are documented. Frequent viewers and younger viewers in particular do not recognize the content as fiction.

On April 27, 2013, Holger Kreymeier from Fernsehkritik-TV interviewed employees of the voluntary self-control television about the consequences of scripted reality for their actors. The FSF does not see any need for action here, but confirms that the pressure that is exerted on the participants if they do not follow the instructions of the director is disproportionate to illegal. Kreymeier notes that the players in scripted reality broadcasts see little chance of taking legal action against the production company.

Several scripted reality formats have established themselves in German-speaking countries :

  • Court shows simulating a court hearing
  • Documentary dramas in which fictional or real situations are re-enacted by actors or the real protagonists
  • Fictional reports in which fictitious operations in everyday life by the police, emergency rescue services or the fire service are re-enacted

List of scripted reality formats in Germany

see also

Other countries

The controversial De Grote donor show of a Dutch broadcaster caused a stir internationally, in which a transplant was staged as a reality game show, which in retrospect turned out to be played.


  • Markus Brauck: TV FORMATS. The reality trap . In: Der Spiegel . No. 43 , 2009, p. 86-88 ( online ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. How does scripted reality work? In: . July 7, 2011, accessed April 23, 2018.
  2. When the shaggy teacher with the messie mother ... In: Spiegel Online. December 15, 2011, accessed November 28, 2014 .
  3. Anna Klöpper: Unbearably stupid. In: November 29, 2012, accessed November 28, 2014 .
  4. ^ The produced Prolet Zeit Online from August 9, 2010
  5. Das Lügenfernsehen , Panorama from July 7, 2011
  6. ^ The false debate about the "Lügenfernsehen" , of July 7, 2011
  7. Dominik Drozdowski: Media expert Jo Groebel: "Scripted Reality is not marked enough". In: Focus Online. July 11, 2011, accessed November 28, 2014 .
  8. Maya Götz: How children and young people understand families in focus (PDF; 1.2 MB), in: TelevIZIon 25/2012/1
  9. Stefan Niggemeier: Fake documentaries on television: When the shaggy teacher with the messie mother ... , Spiegel Online , December 15, 2011
  10. Almost half of the viewers believe in real cases. In: Spiegel Online. December 11, 2011, accessed November 28, 2014 .