When participants sign on to be a part of a reality TV show, they sign contracts and are then bound by the terms of the contract. If the participants violate the terms of the contract, then they risk being kicked off of the show. This is what binds the participant. However, there are laws and regulations which govern reality TV shows. This may be hard to believe since many reality TV shows seem cutthroat, but contestants are aware of the type of TV show they are taking part in and they agree to such treatment in their contracts because that is what makes the show interesting.
The FCC regulates what we see on TV, but the shows are prohibited from rigging of any kind, exploiting children, and other such things as nudity and language that are not censored. Those are your standard FCC regulations. However, there have been statements that have claimed that the show Survivor is not subject to game show regulations set forth by the FCC.
Such rules set forth by the FCC involve the Prime Time Access Rule and the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, which has a large effect on game shows. What the first rule does is give total control of a certain time slot to a local station to do what they please and the second rule gives the producers limited ownership of a program after its initial run. However, these rules don’t really interest the public. What interests the public are the censorship rules.
Regarding the claim that Survivor is not subject to the game show regulations of the FCC is contradictory to what the show has claimed. The FCC rules are mostly effective in the areas of censorship and making sure that there is no rigging going on although the above applies as well. They say that reality shows do not leave much room to cheat anyway despite what some may believe. If the FCC caught reality shows rigging, the reality shows would be severely fined. If the contestants found out that the shows were being rigged, then the shows would be facing numerous lawsuits.
Lessons were learned many years ago from such shows as Quiz Show where the producers were feeding the questions and the answers to the contestants before they went on the show. If the audience loved a particular contestant, the producers wanted to make sure that contestant stuck around for a while. Once the ratings would fall, the process would start all over again so that the audience would once again fall in love with a particular contestant.
However, when we look at the reality shows of today, we may absolutely enjoy a particular contestant for them to get voted off. That hardly constitutes any type of rigging because the show is risking viewership if a beloved contestant is gone. The FCC regulates how these shows conduct themselves and they make sure that everything is done fairly to the best of their ability because, if the show is found out, the show risks everything, including their reputation. If they risk their reputation, then they lose viewership. When a show loses viewership, they are then taken off of the air and placed into syndication if they’re lucky. Some reality shows have been on the air for so long that it would be a shame for such things to happen, but scandal does occur and solutions must be reached. However, sometimes it is the scandal that brings even more viewers to a show than ever before. But if the show is deceiving their viewers, then viewers feel violated.