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Eight Things You Don’t Know about Reality TV

Here is the "real" scoop on reality TV.

Here is the “real” scoop on reality TV.

Think you know everything about your favorite reality shows? Think again. Andy Dehnart, a reality TV expert and founder of reality blurred, shares eight things you don’t know about reality television.

1. Cast members sign restrictive contracts

Read the Survivor contract, the Big Brother contract, or The Real World’scontract and you’ll see what cast members agree to before the cameras ever start rolling. That ranges from being inflicted with “severe mental stress” to allowing a TV network to register their name as a domain and use it forever.

2. Cast members on competition shows don’t go home, they are sequestered

When people are eliminated from reality competitions, such as Top Chefor Survivor, they talk about going home. But they won’t return to their homes and families until the show is finished filming; instead, they are sequestered. That keeps the cast in one place in case they’re needed again, either to return to the competition or as a jury, but it also prevents others from learning the outcome of the show, because the whole cast returns to their normal lives at the same time. If you want to know whatTop Chef’s sequester is like, read about one cast member’s experience.

3. Winners don’t always get the announced prizes

The reward for being on a reality show is often quite large, but some shows don’t quite deliver on their promises. For example, NBC’s summer competition America’s Got Talent promises $1 million, but pays that out over 40 years, so it’s only worth about $375,000 today. The Fox seriesHell’s Kitchen has promised its winners “head chef” positions, but they have rarely taken such a position.

4. Editing is everything

Every reality show is edited; there is just too much footage and too little time to show it all. Plus, we like to watch narratives unfold, so editors and story producers pick and choose what to show in order to develop a story. They can do that ethically or unethically; unethical editing includes creating brand-new sentences from someone’s dialog, which is known as “frankenbyting”. For a comical take on how editing and production work, watch this video.

5. There’s all kinds of product placement

It’s no secret that companies pay to have their products featured on TV shows, including reality TV. But did you know that even cities and states pay to have their location featured? For example, New Orleans and Louisiana paid $375,000 to host filming of Top Chef this summer.

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2014 by in Career and tagged , , , , .
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