Question: I have a question. Why are reality shows termed "reality shows" when they are, in actuality, a competition? People are competing for a prize. That's a game show, so why aren't they called game shows? I can understand shows like MTV's The Real World being called a reality show because at the end of their stay, the kids pack up their stuff and leave. But a show like Survivor is a competition.
Answer: True, which is why when it comes to finding a designation for them at the Emmys, there's a separation between "Reality-Competition Program" (which will likely be won by The Amazing Race again) and "Reality Program" (an all-encompassing umbrella for shows as diverse as Antiques Roadshow, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). While you're absolutely right that many of these shows are glorified game shows, they also tend to include new elements of unscripted drama and enhanced production elements that have formed the basis for a basically new genre of programming. There's a wide divide between a Survivor and even Jeopardy, don't you think?