Archive for the ‘reality tv’ Category

C4 Looking for New Drama

27th August 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Stage reports that the upside of Channel 4’s decision to axe the reality TV show Big Brother is that the broadcaster is going to inject an extra £20 million a year into its drama budget.

Director of television and content at Channel 4, Kevin Lygo, said the extra funds in the drama budget would allow the broadcaster to deliver more “event dramas” such as this year’s Red Riding and The Devil’s Whore, but added Channel 4 would be looking for “more quirky, returnable series aimed at younger audiences”.

In addition, he revealed that Channel 4 was looking for a long-running comedy drama and single films that can sit “at the heart” of themed seasons.

“Channel 4 is at its best when it does things that others don’t or won’t. This is a fresh opportunity to reach out to audiences underserved by drama on the more mainstream channels. We don’t want to be prescriptive about themes or formats. We just want the most creative ideas from Britain’s best new and established drama talent,” Lygo said.

Reality TV Lawsuit

23rd March 2009 by Maura McHugh

According to the L.A. Times three former employees of Fremantle Media, which produces hit reality TV shows such as American Idol, have launched a class-action lawsuit against the company.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, the former employees — a music coordinator for “American Idol,” an associate producer for the reality-based TV series “Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency” and a producer for the game show “Temptation” — contend that the London-based company and its various subsidiaries exposed them to sweatshop conditions.

“Employees work ten, twelve and even twenty-hour days, six or seven days a week, without overtime compensation and are forced to forgo meal and rest breaks as required by law,” the suit states.

The workers further alleged that Fremantle engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” to conceal the hours they worked, forcing them to falsify their time cards so that they would not be paid overtime.

The Writers Guild of America, East and West, have been campaigning strongly for four years for better rights for writers on reality television shows in the USA. The Guild backed two similar lawsuits that made comparable allegations against reality TV producers and networks, and the suits were settled in January for $4 million.

In February the Guild continued its picket of the popular American Idol reality show.

“‘Fremantle is lowering standards for workers all across the entertainment industry,” said David N. Weiss, vice president of the Writers Guild of America, West. “American Idol is the top-rated show on television, and the fact that Fremantle does not compensate its writers and other workers fairly is unacceptable.”

Writing Reality TV

20th November 2008 by Maura McHugh

Dan Partland, executive producer of Intervention, an award-winning non-fiction series about addiction created for American television channel A&E, explains in detail how the show is written and why it’s covered by the Writers Guild of America.

This is an excellent insight into the work involved in crafting and writing “reality” television.

Dutch Reality is Unreal

4th June 2007 by Maura McHugh

In a clever twist, the Dutch reality TV show that purported to allocate the kidneys from a dying woman to one of three contestants turned out to be a hoax: the woman was an actress, and the three patients that require a kidney transplant were aware of this fact.

The show was designed to raise awareness about the shortage of donor organs in the Netherlands. Approximately 200 people die each year waiting for a kidney transplant, and the average waiting time is more than four years.

Donor Reality TV Show

29th May 2007 by Maura McHugh

The BBC reports that a new Dutch reality TV show is causing an uproar in its home country.

Called The Big Donor Show, it features a terminally-ill woman who selects one of three patients to receive her kidneys when she dies.

The programme, from Big Brother creators Endemol, is due to be screened on Friday night.

The 37-year-old donor, identified only as Lisa, will make her choice based on the contestants’ history, profile and conversation with their family and friends.

Viewers will also be able to send in their advice by text message during the 80-minute show.