producers hate Idol product placement ads, but are forced to produce them.

producers hate Idol product placement ads, but are forced to produce them.
Of the Ford ads that run during American Idol 3, one of the show’s executive producers says “I hate the damn things.” Ken Warwick says that in the UK, the system “absolutely forbids any interference within the program by any sponsor, by any advertising, or any product placement whatsoever. It’s just completely forbidden. So in truth, yes, I find a lot of them painful.” So why do they air? And why are they so ridiculous? Simple: “We’ve got no say in the commercials.” According to MTV.com, FOX “requires the producers to include the promotional segments in the Wednesday elimination episodes.” And producers “have no time to do them justice,” nor do they “have a huge budget that a properly produced commercial will have,” Warwick says. Eliminated finalist Leah LaBelle disagrees, saying “[t]he Ford commercial was real cool”; other contestants similarly attach their lips to Ford’s ass.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.