Rules for Reality TV

  1. The word “reality” is taken to mean “the most unrealistic and atypical situation you can possibly think of.”
  2. Any “Celebrity _____” show must have a Baldwin brother.
  3. Editing allows you to turn a saint into a sinner, or a sinner into a saint — but even more, you can turn a vaguely annoying person into a tyrant.
  4. Don’t eliminate those annoying people early; you need them for ratings.
  5. You can make an unstructured reality TV show, with video diaries — you know, the things that 20 years ago we used to call “documentaries.”
  6. You can make a structured reality TV show, with contests and eliminations — you know, the things that 20 years ago we used to call “game shows.”
  7. The best way to program against a competitor’s Mark Burnett reality TV show is with your own Mark Burnett reality TV show.
  8. During the “letters from home” segment, crank up the maudlin piano or a Green Day ballad.
  9. The winner’s reveal show should take 2 or 3 hours, never shorter, no matter how utterly bored the viewers are of these people.
  10. When in doubt, pitch a random reality show title.

Yes, I created a reality show title generator. Comment with the ones you like or that don’t work at all. Hours of fun for the whole family.

10 Responses to “Rules for Reality TV”

  1. Michaela Says:

    I think this show Hot Car would be a lot of fun. I better go pitch it…

  2. Kim Says:

    “Average Whips”… a reality show for the Playboy channel?

  3. Stephen Says:

    Kevin says I should let people rate them and have a way of displaying the top ones. I’d give “America’s Greatest Crack Whore Charm School” 10/10.

  4. Rob Says:

    Gene Simmons In Space!

    You don’t know how much I would pay to see this.

  5. Akos Says:

    Sounds like your program is a success! Seconding/thirding the voting scheme, even if that causes you to slave over a screen of hot code.

  6. Stephen Says:

    I added voting last night! Try it out.

  7. Kyrie Says:

    I LOVE your rules. I don’t watch reality TV, mind you, but I love to laugh at it.

    Actually, when I was home with the babies and nursing all the time, I WAS a big fan of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

    Anyway, UI TIP for your voting — I should be able to click the number and have it just submit for me. clicking the radio button and then clicking RATE IT! is tedious. (I’ll send you an invoice for this UE consulting…)

  8. Stephen Says:


    As for the voting UI: You can press Enter instead of clicking Rate It.

    I personally hate radio buttons that act as submit buttons as well — what if I change my mind? It’s a violation of expectations.

    But I see that the “Hot or Not”-type sites don’t require you to click a separate button so I suppose I should do the same.

  9. Kate Says:

    #4 – I agree, unless Johnny Fairplay is involved.

    My random title is “Desperate Naked Chef”. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love that.

  10. Scrappy Says:

    Supermodels vs. Labs…


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