Well here’s an insider’s guide to what really goes on on reality tv. My goodness me–perhaps it’s not as real as we think.
Everything you see has been mapped out. We design it, we build it, we know what it’s going to be. It’s a maze; my job is to pop the mice in and watch the reaction. But the mice are manipulated. We’ve written everything.
When the characters — the cast — cry “why don’t they like me?” that’s the whole point. If you filmed a show with ten people who get along, there would be nothing to watch. I have sympathy for them, but what do they think they’re signing up for?
You will be edited into a one-dimensional character. The editors can make you whoever they want. You don’t have control.
You can make a big storyline from the littlest thing — a tense moment, something minor. It’s water-cooler talk for the rest of the country, but it’s just some tiny, nothing incident.The best reality TV showcases real talent. Project Runway is very respected in the industry. Everyone loves Extreme Makeover — it makes you feel good and proud to work on a show like that.Jersey Shore is not about talent. It’s about getting attention because you’re young and stupid and arrogant. The more obnoxious you are, the more airtime you get. I can’t stand it, even though some people in my industry love it as a guilty pleasure.
People don’t realize that the cast isn’t allowed to do anything. We basically own them. They’re like our puppets — our prisoners. We’re monitoring them twenty-four hours per day, making sure they adhere to our rules. They barely have contact with family and friends.I keep them on the show if they want to quit. If a girl wants to quit I’ll say, “Do you really want one of the guys to win? Do you really want to let female viewers down?” You’re like their coach; you’re coaching them on how to win the game.
After it’s done, people miss it. They had no responsibilities, didn’t have to look after themselves. We pamper them. They miss being on set — even if they were disgruntled at the time.
The concept we sell to the audience isn’t necessarily the concept we sell to the contestants. I stay friends with cast members after it’s all said and done, which is hard sometimes when you have to lie to them. You get attached and you can feel dirty, but I try.We don’t actually follow celebrities around 24/7. There’s a schedule. We can’t tell them what to say — they try to produce it themselves. They give us shit if it’s not to their liking, or if they’re not represented in a certain light. We make their lives seem more glamorous than they really are — which is what they want.
My friends who don’t work in the industry can’t tell which scenes are scripted. Are you that gullible? You watch The Hills and really buy that Brody and Kristin called each other at the same time, and there just happened to be cameras there? Do you really think the guy on The Bachelor arranged those dates?The Bachelor has a say in which girl he picks — but the executive producer has a 50 percent say in who stays in the game.
Never try to find love on a reality show.Some contestants make for a great story, but we know they’ll never win. They just don’t have the skill, but you keep them there as long as you can to stir up drama.
When we shoot in Vegas, I’ll get the hotel to accommodate our entire cast and crew in exchange for showing the logo.
Everyone says reality TV is the bottom of the barrel, but it’s here to stay. It’s cheap to make, and it’s a quick turnaround. On a scripted drama, you’re getting a fairy tale, and people have a harder time relating to a fairy tale.
I’ve been on the other end — on a blind date show before I was a producer — and it was a nightmare. You think you’re going on the show to just hang out, but it’s really uncomfortable — you’re told what to say. Now I get why the prodding needs to be done, but they didn’t even tell me when it would air.
To get on a reality show, you just need a lot of personality. Good looks help, but having an angle — a character — is more important. That’s why Jersey Shore works so well. People hadn’t seen that kind of character before. Normal people don’t make good television. Image