A narrativa televisiva dos reality game shows
: realidade e ficção no programa Secret Story : A Casa dos Segredos

  • Joana Borges de Almeida (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The genre of reality game show has been a milestone in the Portuguese television reaching high ratings. In 2011, ten years after the first season of Big Brother in Portuguese television, the same TV channel offers at prime time another programme within the genre. In the television studies framework, analysing specifically the way the narrative process is constructed in this medium, the present dissertation aims to understand the narrative construction of this type of genre. More than seeking to understand the relation between the concepts of reality and fiction, we intend to systematize all narrative elements of our case study: the programme Secret Story: A Casa dos Segredos. Therefore, we developed a textual and content analysis throughout the episodes of the programme studied, taking notes of its narrative elements: how the programme and its main characters are constructed and how the narrative process has an influence on their authenticity and performance. The results of our analysis showed a fictionalization of the real. The story and the plot are carefully constructed by the programme’s production team and the choice of the main characters featured on the programme’s episodes is biased. Furthermore, each contestant has its own storyline, playing a type of character set out for each one of them in the opening episode of the show, being associated throughout the season with that type of character. Nevertheless, we were able to distinguish two types of narrative: the structural narrative of the episodes and the internal narratives (personal narrative, game narrative and meta-narrative). In the week of analysis, personal narratives were the dominant narrative throughout the week, followed by the game narratives. Both these narratives were clearly encouraged by the activities proposed by the programme’s production team. Within our data analysis we were able to verify a clear inequality in the visibility of each contestant: the protagonists of the main segments of episodes were, repeatedly, always the same. Although the programme’s production does not have total control of events in the house, they encourage some narrative lines of the contestants, according to their own interests. Last but not least, an artificial reality is constructed, a reality that can be anything but spontaneous, only existing in the reality of the medium.
Date of Award17 Sept 2012
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorEduardo Cintra Torres (Supervisor)


  • Television studies
  • Narrative
  • Fiction
  • Authenticity
  • Editing


  • Mestrado em Ciências da Comunicação

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