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Reality TV: Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus! (2014)
In Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus! (based on the British format I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!) ten to eleven more or less famous people live together for 16 days in a camp in the Australian bush under permanent observation. Every day at least one contestant must take a jungle test (called a “bushtucker trial” in the original British series) which involves s/he overcoming feelings of fear and disgust. Since 2004 the show has been one of the most revolting but also one of the most successful formats on German television. The programme is one of the top media topics in social discourse at the respective time of broadcast.
An online IZI reception study involving 250 viewers of Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus! between the ages of twelve and 66 examined the fascination of the reality show. The answers of the 113 respondents between the ages of twelve and 26 were analysed further.
Results: The jungle tests are the most important part of the show. The more frightening or revolting they are, the more the viewers like them. Many viewers also watch the show so they can explore their own inhibition thresholds and test, within a safe space, how far they themselves would go. During the jungle tests the viewers sweat it out with the contestants, cheer them on or vilify them, depending on their capacity to empathise. Those being tested are deliberately staged as media figures viewers can either relate to or differentiate themselves from. The two presenters’ professionally written, self-deprecating and, in the eyes of the fans, very funny comments, and the comedy which emerges through the campers’ conversations and the way they behave towards one another as well as through the jungle tests, ensure that viewers do not have too much sympathy for the Z-list celebs – ultimately, they are in the jungle of their own free will.