Reality TV producers band together to create a new genre of television

This satirical story is part of the April 1, 2006 edition of reality blurred.

Fighting back against relentless criticism that they fake their shows and overwork their employees, the major reality TV production companies are abandoning their current slate of reality shows and are instead developing plans to produce a new type of TV show.

Because of the WGA’s relentless campaign on behalf of reality show editors and writers, which focused primarily on guild members being as annoying as possible, the production companies convened a weekend-long brainstorming session in the Big Brother house. “Once we got there, we were going to swim in the hot tub, but then realized that some kind of fungus with eyes and teeth was growing in it. Instead, we talked about our problem and quickly came up with a solution,” one participant said.

The problem, they realized, was that “it’s really hard, pointless work to stand around all day and film, especially if nothing happens,” as another producer said. “We realized how stupid we were being, working so hard to make reality look real. I mean, do you have any idea how hard it is to ask stupid middle-class people to reshoot a scene over and over again and look natural each time? It’s like they have no fucking acting experience at all,” he said.

To avoid those kinds of complications, they unanimously decided to abandon reality TV and instead create a brand-new genre. As one participant explained, “It’s such an innovative idea. First, we’ll write down ideas. Then we’ll hire people to do those things in front of cameras. That’ll make our jobs so much easier, and we can go back to doing blow off Tonya Cooley’s vagina.”

The new shows will be called “written TV.” Casting producers will be working with George Washington University’s new “acting for reality TV” class, which the GW Hatchet reports “will teach methods for portraying several commonly-cast reality TV roles, such as ‘skanky alcoholic,’ ‘homophobic Southerner,’ ‘privileged JAP,’ ‘token black guy/girl’ ‘sullen hipster,’ ‘naive virgin,’ ‘ flamboyant gay,’ and ‘overweight woman who eats her feelings.'”

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.