Laguna Beach “filmed from at least a block away”

Today, the cutting-edge geniuses at Gawker finally figured out why MTV’s Laguna Beach looks and feels different from other reality shows. Although Jessica suspected that the series was scripted because of its style, she just discovered that MTV intentionally shot and edited the show like a drama.

This was news, oh, more than a year ago. That’s what happens when you huff too much Page Six: You start reporting year-old things as if they’re new.

Still, in their “investigation,” Gawker managed to dig up two pieces of interesting information: First, they found that cameras aren’t hovering in front of the kids’ faces constantly. “The shots are filmed from at least a block away — think Discovery channel-esque high-powered cameras — so that the kids can roam somewhat unencumbered by the multiple cameramen,” Gawker reports.

Second, the site says that producer/cast member interaction is on “a whole new level.” That’s because “producers at LB prep the kids for days that they’ll be filming. A hypothetical example: ‘Kristin, we’re going to be taping on Thursday. You should call Stephen then, okay? Make sure you talk about these things…'” Thus, producers are able to capture pivotal moments, like both sides of a dramatic phone call.

Laguna Beach and the Meaning of Life [Gawker]

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.