chapter  10
14 Pages

Lifestyle as factual entertainment

ByCHRISTA LYKKE CHRISTENSEN

Public-service channels generally have undergone changes in programming during the last 10 to 15 years and this has also been the case with the Danish public-service channels, DR and TV 2. The early hours of prime time for four days of the week have gradually been filled with programmes concerned with so-called lifestyle matters. The programmes address home improvement, gardening, cooking, hobbies, holidays, personal appearance and health, and the formats range from the instructive do-it-yourself programme or the sceptical consumer programme, through programmes with the ‘makeover’ as their central dramaturgical logic, to programmes concerned with the presentation and updating of taste, where aspects of lifestyle are often integrated with traditional entertainment elements such as quizzes and competitions. The early hours of prime time on Danish channels used to be dominated

by comedy series, documentaries and quizzes but, since 2000, lifestyle programmes have gradually succeeded in displacing them while the elements of comedy, documentary, experiments, games and quizzes have been integrated into these programmes, which is one of the reasons they are labelled as a hybrid genre, under the heading of ‘factual entertainment’ (Hill 2005). My argument is that the very combination of factual, educational and entertainment television is the reason the programmes are as popular as they are, at least from the standpoint of ratings. The hybrid genres offer the viewers many and varied opportunities to connect with the programmes, and thus provide them with different ways of being entertained. Lifestyle programmes on television are not unique media phenomena.

They are part of what one may call late-modern makeover or improvement culture. Newspapers abound with lifestyle supplements, and lifestyle material is abundantly available on the internet – as a supplement to television programmes, among other things; moreover, the number of lifestyle