Love, fame or money? ‘The makers of reality TV determine what the viewer at home will think of you’

Do people participate in reality TV to gain fame or promote their B&B? Despite criticism, participants continue to sign up for reality programs such as ‘B&B full of love’ and ‘Farmer seeks woman’. “It’s not that unfair to get something in return.”

Last year there was already criticism of the flamboyant Desiree, who often looked a little too self-conscious and for a long time into the camera, but this year other participants in the B&B full of love endure criticism. For example, in the first week of the reality program, the young B&B owner Joy turned out to offer part of his B&B for sale for an amount of eight hundred thousand euros. Joy himself emphasized that this was because of a conflict with his business partner, but viewers thought it was very coincidental. Participant Walter, who offers expensive tantra courses on his estate, could also benefit from the free advertising offered by the RTL programme.

Ex on the beach

Yet TV connoisseur Michel Doodeman does not think so B&B full of love goes in the same direction as many other reality programs, where it is more emphatically about acquiring fame and money. “I think the threshold to participate in B&B full of love or Farmer seeks wife much higher than for example Ex on the beach or Temptation Island . Out B&B full of love and Farmer seeks wife quite a few serious relationships have also emerged. You participate in such a program if you are looking for something more serious.”

Who can not remember the first season of Big Brother remember more than twenty years ago? The people who allowed themselves to be locked in a house for months at the time had no idea that they were becoming famous. About 3.5 million Dutch people watched the final. Seasons afterward, contestants often seemed to explicitly crave that same fame.

Talk of the day

But actually knowing what it means to be the talk of the day is not a given, thinks Linda Duitsland, media scientist affiliated with Utrecht University. “You often see with participants of reality programs that the moment it happens to them, fame overtakes them. In the first season of B&B full of love In addition to nice reactions, participant Debbie also received a lot of nasty ones. People often don’t see that coming.”

Doodeman thinks that it is not too bad with the sought-after fame B&B full of love . “You are not media shy if you sign up for such a program, but I think that B&B full of love people like to participate anyway. If someone only participates to become known, you will also notice that as a viewer and it will be less fun. Of course it can help that you have participated in such a program if you want to sell your B&B. But how bad is that? The participants don’t get paid, as far as I know, so it’s not that unfair to get something in return.”

German agrees: “There is sometimes an expense allowance for reality TV participants, which will be more than what you earn in a distribution center, but it certainly won’t make you rich.”

In addition to being a fan, German is also critical of reality programs. “It’s a genre that thrives on conflict. Not necessarily a fight, for example, conflict can also be an emotion that surfaces, where makers do everything they can to create an uncomfortable situation to create a tension. But the emotions of the participants are real. The makers completely determine how you as a participant will be portrayed and what the viewer at home will think of you. If you have a lot of material, you can position someone the way you want.”

In England, but also in the Netherlands, there have been lawsuits that participants have brought against makers. German: “People there thought that they had been placed in such an annoying way that it really bothered them. When reality TV makers are asked if they would ever want to participate in their own programs, the overwhelming answer is no. Understandable, because they know how these kinds of programs are made.”


Doodeman thinks that the reproaches of participating for the fame B&B full of love especially towards the younger participants. “Last year, viewers also said that about Denise (a young woman with a B&B in Portugal, who got into conflict with RTL after the program, ed.). Then people thought that she too wanted to promote her B&B. I don’t think that was the case. Of course you have more fame after such a program. But just to rent out some extra rooms, most people will not throw away all their belongings on TV.”