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.

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.

Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.