There was a study done at Ohio State University on the audience who watch and enjoy reality shows a couple of years ago. People who watch two or more reality shows were motivated by social contact and ranked it the highest. People who are sociable and like chatting at the water cooler are more likely to watch reality TV.
They were more concerned with order and very motivated by romance.
The more reality shows a person liked, the more status-oriented the person was.
People who are motivated by status have an above-average need to feel self important.
Reality viewers feel they are more important than the ordinary people portrayed on reality television shows.
Viewers like to see people like themselves or larger versions of themselves. It may not matter much if the storyline is realistic, so long as the characters are ordinary people. The fact that these are ordinary people, like themselves. allows the viewers to fantasize they too could gain celebrity status by being on TV.