Reality TV shows spent 8,397 days filming in L.A., 40 percent of all TV production

Last year, “the number of days spent shooting reality TV episodes in Los Angeles soared 53%,” the Los Angles Times reports. Reality shows were “about 40% of all on-location TV production,” for a collective total “of 8,397 days filming.”

The paper also reports that “Los Angeles economist Jack Kyser estimates at least 30,000 local jobs are tied to reality television.”

However, “reality shows don’t pack the same economic punch as scripted shows, which have larger budgets, bigger crews and longer runs. A typical one-hour drama that runs 22 episodes costs close to $50 million, compared with about $7 million spent on a 10-episode reality show,” according to the Times.

The president of FilmL.A., which permits TV and film productions, agrees. “While we appreciate the fact that reality production is occurring here rather than somewhere else and people are being employed, reality TV in general doesn’t have anywhere near the same economic impact as other forms of television,” Steve MacDonald said.

Still, as Variety reported last year, these are “record-setting levels” for reality TV.

Reality check: Unscripted TV a hit for L.A. economy [Los Angeles Times]

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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.