Burton Roberts’ series Camp Reality debuts tonight on Fox Reality

Camp Reality, an original reality series produced by Survivor cast member Burton Roberts, debuts tonight on the Fox Reality Channel and repeats frequently. The first episode should also appear on iTunes.

The show, according to the network, follows Burton as he “hosts twelve of his reality star friends in Big Bear, California for a weekend of challenges, games and all around good times.”

That sounds rather familiar, like MTV’s Challenge shows or the all-star versions of various series. In an exclusive interview with reality blurred, Burton says he created the series because he “thought it would be great to get [the cast] all together hanging out and having fun as they do in real life at different charity events and appearances.” He also says he “missed all the challenges from Survivor and thought it would be great to have people compete against each other across shows.”

Again, that’s not unlike the poorly executed Bravo series Battle of the Network Reality Stars. But while Burton says that particular show “was so much fun to be a part of,” he says “they missed out on really showing what these people are like in real life.”

That’s the goal of this series, which he says he funded, produced, logged, and pitched himself. “Every step of the way had me learning as I went and figuring things out on the fly,” he said. How did he get others to participate? Simple: He offered them “an all expense paid” weekend. However, there was no prize or reward, “because I wanted people to be themselves without any outside influences. This gives a more accurate portrayal of people and what motivates them,” he said. “Some want to win for the sake of winning and others don’t care, but still have a blast.”

I asked if the 14 cast members–who include Jonny Fairplay, Nikki McKibbin, Scott Long, Coral Smith, and other all-too-familiar reality regulars–agreed to do the show just for attention, and he said, “More camera time? I am sure all reality stars want that!”

Camp Reality [Fox Reality]

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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.