Research Reveals Half of Reality TV Fans Consider Cast Members as Family

…By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media. A recent study reveals that half of reality TV enthusiasts have such strong devotion to the shows they watch that they perceive certain cast members as part of their own family.


The research, conducted among 2,000 adult viewers of the genre, found that 27 percent have engaged in debates with their real-life partners about the amount of reality TV they consume.

Furthermore, 45 percent have been following the journeys of their favorite personalities for five years or longer, with 47 percent admitting that they feel a familial connection as a result.

Surprisingly, 11 percent of respondents believe they possess more knowledge about their favorite reality TV stars than they do about their own partners.

Favorite Shows and Reasons for Enjoyment

Among the top ten beloved reality TV shows are The Great British Bake Off, Below Deck, and Made in Chelsea.

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A significant 40 percent of reality TV watchers enjoy the genre because of its simplicity.

Other reasons for liking reality TV include its ability to provide an escape from everyday life (33 percent), offering a means to relax (30 percent), and the entertainment value derived from the drama (27 percent).


Popular Genres and Their Appeal

The most favored genres within the reality TV realm are cooking shows (31 percent), such as Top Chef, true crime documentaries (26 percent), and dating shows (26 percent), including Love Island.

Respondents cited various reasons for their love of the genre, including the opportunity to experience an escape from reality (26 percent) and the stark differences between the personalities on the shows and those in their real lives (17 percent).

Additionally, 13 percent appreciate the fact that reality TV personalities often say and do things they themselves would never dare to attempt.

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Impact on Career and Self-Perception

Interestingly, 15 percent of individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 draw inspiration for their careers from reality TV, as some shows showcase alternative employment options.

The study also revealed that 31 percent of participants feel that their lives are not as exciting as those depicted on their favorite reality TV programs.

However, a confident 43 percent believe that other people would find their lives interesting enough to warrant a reality TV show.

The Influence of Hayu and NBCUniversal

The research was commissioned by Hayu, the all-reality streaming service offered by NBCUniversal (NBCU).

Hayu’s Managing Director of EMEA Networks and Direct-to-Consumer at NBCU, Hendrik McDermott, noted that reality TV elicits immense passion as it revolves around relationships, both their formation and dissolution.


He explained that the genre provides an escape from reality, allowing viewers to take a moment for themselves and relax.

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McDermott expressed satisfaction with the study’s findings, highlighting the shows’ ability to inspire career exploration and the sense of connection viewers feel with reality TV personalities.


The survey results reveal the strong bond that reality TV fans form with the shows they watch, considering some cast members as part of their own families.

The genre’s popularity stems from its simplicity, ability to provide an escape, and entertainment value through drama.

Viewers appreciate the stark differences between the personalities on the shows and those in their real lives.

Additionally, reality TV serves as a source of career inspiration for some, while others feel their own lives pale in comparison to those depicted on screen.

The study was conducted by Hayu, the all-reality streaming service, and its parent company NBCUniversal.

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