Network execs, producers admit reality TV has a “creative crisis”

Recently, several network executives and reality TV producers admitted that there’s a creative crisis in the genre now. Yes! If only they knew someone who could do something about it.

During a panel moderated by NHNZ’s Phil Fairclough at the RealScreen Summit, “the panelists to call upon assembled producers and television executives to take more risks rather than produce imitations of hits such as Storage Wars,” RealScreen’s report says. Here are highlights of their conversation:

  • Lifetime’s Rob Sharenow: “That sense of real creative energy is not there right now. Whereas 10 years ago the scripted world was as boring as it could get and non-fiction was in there with all these innovative formats, now it’s completely reversed. It’s a creative crisis. There is a high motivation on the buyer and seller’s parts to keep doing the same thing.”
  • Animal Planet, Science, and Velocity president Marjorie Kaplan said “the characters in scripted feel more real than the people on reality TV.”
  • Real World creator Jon Murray: “When you script reality it becomes a lot more mediocre.”
  • Murray also said that “networks should pull the plug on shows earlier” if they’re not working; he was challenged by the moderator, NHNZ development and production EVP Phil Fairclough, about the continuation of his MTV series. He said, “Our quaint little idea of seven diverse people living together is not that great anymore. This generation lives in diversity.Every year for us is a like going to war to keep our show on the air.”

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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.