reality TV helps, worries insurance cos.

reality TV helps, worries insurance cos.
Who do we have to thank for letting us have our reality TV? The insurance industry! The chief entertainment underwriting officer of the St. Paul Travelers Companies says that “reality TV is the fastest-growing segment of the entertainment insurance industry.” And that means insurance companies stand to make a bunch of money, as “Insurance rates on a reality TV show with physical stunts can be 20 to 50 percent higher than a standard program shot in a studio,” according to an AP report. But to avoid paying out a huge claim, they’re actively involved in making sure the shows are safe. The AP reports that for a recent Fear Factor stunt, a “team of risk-control analysts questioned, analyzed and triple-checked every detail of the stunt. The cow tongues had to be properly cooked and certified as safe to eat by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the lard had to be fresh from a supermarket freezer.” Kenneth Wefer, the owner of “an engineering company based in Los Angeles that helps insurers evaluate stunts,” tells the AP that it’s a dangerous game: “One death. One dismemberment. That’s all it could take to end reality television.” Wait, is he kidding? A dismemberment would make the best. reality. series. ever., and after getting huge ratings, would lead FOX to create I Want to be an Amputee.

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.