Casting directors discuss whether actors should do reality TV

Does it help or hurt an actor to go on a reality TV show? There’s varied evidence, from The Real World‘s Jamie Chung, who will be in the Hangover sequel, to Survivor‘s Jessica “Sugar” Kiper, who bragged about her contract with CBS but hasn’t apparently turned that into anything since her two appearances on the show, even though she was working actively before it.

Backstage interviewed four casting directors to get their perspective on whether being on a reality show can help or hurt an actor’s career, and The Middle and Arrested Development casting director Deborah Barylski probably sums it up best: “There is no doubt that being on a reality show offers a kind of visibility that can be very, very helpful to an acting career. However, make sure you’re ready. And by ‘ready,’ I mean you need to be trained and have enough experience to fully take advantage of the doors that could open for you. Otherwise, you will be hired only because of your notoriety, and as soon as you ‘cool off,’ you will no longer be of interest to producers.”

discussion by

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, 37, 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.