Saturday, January 3, 2009

The myth of "unscripted" TV

Check out the December 2008 issue of the Writers Guild of America's Written By (non-members can subscribe for $40/year -- well worth it!) -- for an excellent article, Does Reality Still Bite?, by Jim Milio & Melissa Jo Peltier, writers of Dog Whisperer. These industry veterans look at ongoing problems that writers face when they seek recognition -- and compensation -- for the scripting that goes on behind the scenes of so-called "unscripted" shows. (The Dog Whisperer is considered scripted, and is covered by the WGA.) Also check out Joel Stein's 2004 Los Angeles Times piece, The New Quiz Show Scandal, referred to in the article. "Through sources I cannot reveal but would definitely not go to jail to protect, I got hold of a 19-page, single-spaced outline of an upcoming episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," Stein wrote. "Every moment is planned in advance, including a few specific lines for the straight guy to deliver, which Bravo says is not unusual for any reality show. It’s something that people in Hollywood know and think is no big deal." (Partipants in reality shows generally sign very broad releases; see for example the casting applications for a new CBS series, Block Party and ABC's Supernanny.)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1/03/2009

    Thanks for the nod, your blog.
    Melissa Jo Peltier