ABC VP says reality “is viewed as equally important as comedy and drama”

A panel discussion about reality TV, one that was interrupted by WGAw protesters, found that “media reports suggesting television reality series are losing popularity are overblown,” according to TV Week.

Although I agree with them, they’re not exactly an objective panel, as every one of them is either a reality show producer or a network reality show programmer/executive, so their jobs kind of depend upon the genre sticking around.

Perhaps most significantly, ABC’s Andrea Wong, who serves as executive VP of alternative programming, said, “The unscripted area at ABC is viewed as equally important as comedy and drama.” Although her network is still airing The Bachelor and cancelled The Mole, it has had successes recently with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Dancing with the Stars.

Bunim-Murray Producers’ Jonathan Murray noted that Starting Over is “half the cost of ‘Passions.’ Maybe reality will replace daytime soaps.”

In the most shocking admission, American Idol‘s executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said that he doesn’t like product placement, even though his show relentlessly whores Coca-Cola and Ford. “If I had my way I’d never do it,” he said.

Panel: Reality Genre Not Dead Yet [TV Week]

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.