Getting Your Reality TV Show Idea in Front of the People Who Make Them.
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By Matt Canham
More, more, more for less, less, less is what the networks are saying about reality television because the popularity has staying power that is here forever.
There will always be a new reality show coming out, with new ideas coming from every aspect of life and there are even television stations dedicated to reality TV 24 hours a day.
But how long can this golden run go on? The short answer is indefinitely, as there is something of a stand off in place. The viewers ask that question, and the producers also ask that question, and both sides continue to watch and create the programs.
Who will crack first? When will they crack? With the huge success of many shows, it is not going to be anytime soon. But what about this huge success?
In terms of the individual success of one show, it will have little to do with the overall popularity of the genre. The run away success of The Simpsons didn't stop others producing animation, just as the wild success of one Reality show won't stop others from being made.
The big attraction to Reality TV is the audience involvement. They are watching real people and invest in them emotionally. Anyone who invests their time emotionally, isn't going to just walk away, so they stay and keep watching to see the eventual outcome. And we already know there are no limits to the behaviour and emotions of human beings.
For this reason, I feel the next wave will be even wilder that the what we are seeing now. It's going to get kind of weird folks, which in turn makes for great television. Sorry to all my buddies in Hollywood that act or are so called real writers.
In my opinion reality TV show writers are just that; "writers" but they are also creators as well which is an interesting duality that is really unique to them. Everyone has got an idea but who is able to lay it out so a producer can envision their show idea, who knows the ins and out and which hoops to jump through. Who knows what will be a colossal waste of time and at the same time knows exactly the proper path to take? The path that can lift your idea from just an idea to a simple proper one page treatment across the right desk of the right person, in the right fashion, without smacking of desperation and looking as if it has been put together by someone lacking experience...
The big consideration these days is the potential market for advertising. If you can clearly identify the target age groups for your show and the companies who might want to advertise to that market, you will have a very powerful pitch. The Contender was a great example - Everlast and Toyota Tundra broadcast to an audience of millions. Reality shows are about Entertainment, but they are also new vehicles for advertising!
Instead of just being involved in the breaks between the show, Reality TV allows advertisers to become part of the show. And any adman worth his place on Madison Avenue will know that being in the mind of the consumer for the whole show, not just 30 seconds of it, is a very worthy exposure for his client.
For this reason, the role of potential advertisers in the show should be of paramount importance to writers. Reality TV is not just about entertainment - it is also about selling products to the shows target audience. Never forget that.
If your idea is good, you might want to move ahead with it NOW. There are 150 top production companies that do reality shows and are waiting for the next big idea.
There is only question left you need to ask yourself. Is it going to be yours?
Matt Canham, Writer, Producer. Reality TV Show Pitch Ebook
"Reality TV is a different kind of animal" - Donald Trump
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