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]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.