When Reality TV is not Real! Really?

Having been out of the country for an extended period, I was able to watch select American programs online and not bother with the din of everything else Americans watch.  Reality TV became the bane of my existence, as a writer, when the genre became a programming reality about 20 years ago…….the reality was….is….and forever will be with us but it is not real.  Wake up America!

This week’s news shocker by a former participant in the HGTV show House Hunters that much of it was staged and some houses were not even for sale is still causing headlines three days after breaking.  Please…….we have the world economy on the brink, as the euro plummets and Europeans want their own monetary identity again……we have increased seismic activity all over Italy…….we have a US presidential race upside down with no clear leader…..and we are worried that entertainment is fictional on TV.  What are you people smoking?

As an entertainment attorney, I have negotiated many, many contracts for the people who appear on reality television.  I bite my tongue as I speak with the show’s producers who try to sell me, a former journalist, a bag of goods as to how “real” this will be for my clients.  I advise my clients how they may rue the day that cameras follow their every move and make them re-shoot scenes that just didn’t look right in “reality” and how they may never be able to have a private moment in public again……or worse yet, how any family feud may be blown way out of proportion!

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For the most part, the clients listen to me and then think they know better.  So, I am left to get them the best deal and protections possible.

“Oh, it won’t be that bad and my business will go through the roof!”  Sure, keep drinking that Kool-Aid.

The lawyers for the networks and producers hate me because I’ve “been there and done that,” as a former TV personality.  I question why they need the entire life medical history of someone buying a house or a wedding dress.  I tussle with them when they want complete 24/7 availability even beyond the shooting schedule…..just in case they need a re-shoot!  Yet, my biggest laugh comes when the producers insist on controlling which stylists, plastic surgeons and publicists the participants may employ.

You see, there is nothing real about TV, not even the news.  That is also handled these days by a pack through press releases and press conferences.

Please, American, I beg you, wake up before we all become a TV parody of ourselves!