Amish in the City producer says controversy over the series was surprising.

Amish in the City producer says controversy over the series was surprising.
Amish in the City producer Jon Kroll talks to Salon’s Heather Havrilesky, and says he was surprised by the controversy that erupted over the series.

Why? “Because the thought of doing a show that was disrespectful to the Amish–I know this sounds strange, but it had not even occurred to us. We had always intended to do something that would be respectful.” He says that “there was great potential” for exploitation of the Amish participants, but says they ” were incredibly diligent about having long conversations with them about what the show was, what we intended to do, what the reaction could be from their communities and from the public after it was all over. We really tried to educate them as well as we could.”

He also explains how this show and others are valuable: “One of the mantras I like to preach, as silly as it may sound, is that reality shows at their best can be documentaries for the masses. They can be something that presents real-life situations in a way that they’re entertaining enough to draw a big audience.”

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.