Reality Television From An Insider Scoop

images face of melissa

Okay, so here’s the deal. Coming up Monday night on Reality TV; the finale of The Housewives Of Beverly Hills, followed by their reunion show with host Andy Cohen of Watch What Happens Live. The reason I bring this to your attention is simple- I’m a g-mogul and this show will be over the top! Why? Because there’s one wannabe player on The Housewives who want to become a permanent fixture or “hold the diamond” as Wendy Williams would say. The person who wants to be a part of The Housewives drama is Faye Resnick.

Y’all remember who or should I say, when Faye Resnick got a taste of fame? It was during the time of the O.J. Simpson’s trial for his alleged murder of his wife and his wife’s friend. Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife had been friends with Faye Resnick. So, this woman became known because of a horrific crime. Fast forward to The Housewives Of Beverly Hills, where she is a known pipeline & friend to Kyle Richards. Well, Ms. Resnick wants to be known for more than a friend and is vying for a place of permanence by initiating fights with Brandi Glanville. She even accuses Brandy of ending the marriage between Paul and Adrienne Maloof-sad

That explains why as a g-mogul, I’ll be taking notes on The Housewives of Beverly Hills. The reason for the title to this post and for the picture of Melissa Jo Peltier? Because she is the real deal when it comes to knowing behind the scenes “secrets” of making Reality TV. just sayin’ So, Ms. Peltier, a 3 times emmy winner in documentary and film, as well as bestselling author, has given us the 411 in her new novel,Reality Boulevard. Guess what I’m going to do for you guys? I’m going to share part of an interview yours truly did with the entertainment mogul, right now!

Sadly, Reality TV could not exist without stereotypes. You see, it’s mostly not real. (I’m not talking about real docu-style shows or shows with reality-based formats like Hoarders, The Dog Whisperer, Intervention, Beyond Scared Straight, etc. here – there are still people who are trying to make redeeming TV. I’m talking about the average docu soap and many contest shows) The shows are conceived and greenlit in a cynical, reactive kind of way based on trying to capitalize on or outdo the success of what came before (although to be fair, all TV, film, theater, commercial art and publishing contains an element of this.) The “cast” – who are cast in much the same way a dramatic project is cast – are often wanna-be actors or even simply wanna-be celebs who don’t want to do the work to actually learn something for which to be famous. They just want to be famous – end of story. Their greatest talent is the ability to play and to improv a larger-than-life aspect of themselves that fits into a stereotypical niche. What most people don’t know is, much reality TV is actually what’s called “Soft-Scripted” – an absurd moniker if I’ve ever heard one! “Soft-Scripted” means that the situations, scenes, conflicts – even lines, from time to time (I know an agent of one of the top and most successful reality docu-soap TV ‘stars’ who dutifully passed on a full script to his client every week) are ‘written’ by someone who, for union reasons, can’t be called a ‘writer’, so he or she is called a “series editor” or “story producer,” or other bland title like that, that won’t alert the Writers Guild that something fishy is going on. It’s paint-by-numbers, lowest-common-denominator drama – if you can call it drama – but it’s very deliberately planned out. Then there are the on-scene “directors” – like writers, they are often simply called segment producers or field producers so the Directors Guild doesn’t get upset – who use any and every technique possible to create conflict and drama among the characters. This could include passing along rumors, to giving the participants alcohol (there’s a lot of that), to forcing the participants into dicey situations. There is enormous pressure on these field producers to bring back heightened spectacle for every episode. And enormous pressure on the editors and post-production producers to heighten that drama and conflict even more in the editing process.

I don’t want to come off as a crusader against reality TV because I’m not. I like being entertained by silly things and guilty pleasures, just like anyone. Television is an ever-changing business and there’s no point in railing against change. The genre itself will evolve like anything else, and maybe it’ll even die a natural death some day. In the meantime, a lot of people seem to love it.

To read this unedited interview with Melissa Jo Peltier, go to and as always…


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