The Grim Realities of Reality TV: Workers Speak

by JamesNYCJuly 19. 2014 09:52

The rise of reality TV programming over the past two decades has been driven in large part by the fact that reality shows are cheap to produce. Labor costs are a big reason why. What does that mean for the people who work on these shows? Allow some of them to tell you.

Last week, a union that is working with employees of reality (or news/ nonfiction) television shows put us in contact with a number of people who were willing to share their stories of working in the industry. These workers have varying experiences, but they all presumably share the conviction that a union would improve their working conditions. You are free to decide whether or not that colors your view of their stories. Many of these employees are treated as freelancers, and they do not have the workplace protections that their unionized brethren in other sectors of the entertainment industry enjoy. Their experiences vary, but they all go to show that, past a thin veneer of glamour, the TV industry is just another job.

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