For those working in media studies today, the word “ordinary” is not quite as ordinary as it once was. Over the past decade and a half it has become a site of a great deal of discussion, debate, and examination. This is largely in response to the manner in which television has integrated both the label and the idea of the ordinary into the designing and marketing of their formats, and the manner in which digital and social media have established themselves as technologies with the capacity to empower the ordinary media consumer. Toward the end of the 1990s, it became widely noticed that ordinary people—that is, people not drawn from the world of the media or entertainment—had begun to be more visible in the media (Turner 2010). Where previously they may have been visible as guests or audience members for talk shows, say, or as vox pops in news bulletins, ordinary people had now become fundamental components of new prime-time entertainment formats on television. The UK series Airport (1996) started out as a documentary before morphing into a “docusoap” when a number of its continuing characters developed followings as minor celebrities. The Dutch reality TV format of Big Brother...

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