The concept of ‘interactivity’ has gained increasing currency in relation to television. At the level of programming, at least, this has been made visible with the phenomenal rise of reality TV. Phrases such as ‘You decide!’ (Big Brother), ‘But this time you choose!’ (Pop Idol) and ‘If you want to have your say’ (The Salon) proliferate in contemporary television, articulating a rhetoric that insists pressingly upon a ‘new’ participatory relationship between viewer and screen. The aim of this article is to consider the political implications of this shift for existing approaches to audience-text relations in television and cultural studies. This involves a consideration of a number of broader issues which currently raise questions for the study of television and its audience, particularly the increasing criticisms made of the active/resistant audience paradigm, the relationship between television and the internet, and the status of the televisual ‘text’ in a proliferating intertextual field.
- cultural convergence
- The Salon