Admittedly, these writers don’t script dialogue but manipulate situations. President Daniel Petrie says, “The secret about reality TV isn’t that it’s scripted, which it is; the secret is that reality TV is a 21st-century telecommunications industry sweatshop.”
This isn’t surprising considering that networks were attracted to the reality genre because they are so cheap to produce. It turns out they are cheap for a reason: Not giving story producers health benefits or paying them the minimum salary requirements. If you’ve seen any reality TV, especially any involving celebrities, you know how contrived they are. You can almost hear the producers saying, “Let’s send her to a psychic.” OK, maybe that’s just me.
What should be obvious to everyone is that reality is not all that compelling. Steve Rupel, who has worked on shows like “The Real World,” agrees: “I don’t care if it’s Omarosa, or Richard Hatch, or Puck — if you watch every second of someone’s life, the majority of it is quite boring.” I don’t envy him his job editing down endless hours of banal conversations and trips to the bathroom trying to find something of interest. It’s still storytelling, but without the excitement of “Lost” or the sublime dialogue of “Casablanca.”
You get what you pay for, and in the case of reality TV, the viewing public has a whole lot of nothing.