unions want to organize reality TV.

unions want to organize reality TV.
Reality TV shows are notoriously cheap to produce; even with a $1 million prize and production costs, that’s nothing compared to the eight bajillion dollars each Friends cast member rakes in for a 22-minute episode. The New York Times says “an hour of prime-time reality programming for a major network costs about $700,000,” compared to “$1 million to $2 million an hour” for a drama. That’s part of the reason why there are so many reality TV shows on the air–that, and people love to watch other people eat eyeballs, fight, cry, and backstab. Enter the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which says “those who work on unscripted programs should receive health insurance, pensions, overtime pay and other benefits.” They’ve already successfully unionized Big Brother; other unions, such as The Writers Guild of America and I.A.T.S.E.’s Motion Picture Editors Guild, are also getting in on the action. Of course, as the Times points out, “If the producers have to pay overtime and union wages, and to make contributions to health and pension programs, the shows will be more expensive to produce. That could make them less appealing to the networks, which have come to rely on reality shows as bargains for their prime-time schedules.” So, reality TV people, suck it up and buy some band-aids and save your loose change, because we need our Survivor.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.