I’ve never been a fan of ‘reality’ television, mostly for the fact it plays to the lowest common denominator and many times doesn’t seem real at all. That’s why I found this candid interview with reality TV producer Troy DeVolld very interesting. He is open about how reality TV is not strictly ‘real’ and producers have to construct things to form compelling narratives. I especially found this comparison of reality TV to improvised comedy fascinating.
AVC: Most of it is more like improvised reality, just as improvised comedy starts with an outline but the end result is still the cast members’ own words and sensibility.
TDV: Yeah, if you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, it’s almost constructed like a lot of reality shows are, where you have the point of every scene, the one thing somebody has to get across in that scene, and they basically say, “All right, we’re just going to go in here, and we’re going to get from A to C, and all you have to do is come up with B.” There are a lot of reality shows that are produced that way. It’s very similar to the way that a lot of that semi-improvised entertainment is.