When it comes to reality TV, it’s the people that make a show. No matter the genre, the style or the prize up for the taking, quintessential to a talked-about, memorable season is the cast. But if we take a step back, the casting decisions and consequently, what the cast do on a show are carefully crafted choices made by those behind the scenes.
In the season extension of POPSUGAR’s pilot season of POPCAST, host Tim Dormer interviews the masterminds that work behind the scenes on some of the biggest reality TV shows in Australia. We’re pulling the curtain back on those who are in charge of everything you see. In the first episode of the season extension, Tim speaks to Alex Mavroidakis, one of Australia’s most successful television producers with close to two decades of experience under his belt. He’s got shows like Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! and Love Island to his name, and naturally, has plenty of (juicy) insight to share.
Any avid reality TV fan knows that the shows can take up the better part of your evenings in a week, which means in terms of content, producers have their work cut out for them. When you’ve got strong personalities on the show doing their own thing, it’s easy, however when the contestants are gelling as well as you’d hoped, sometimes storylines have to be a little forced. “The amount of ideas and stuff you have to come up with to make that much TV, you can’t just sit back anymore and go, ‘Oh well, let’s hope that there’s something good today,'” Alex said on POPCAST. “You just can’t do it, or you will not have a show.”
However, that’s as far as they go in terms of pulling strings. Alex maintains that everything a contestant does or says is of their own discretion. “We don’t tell people what to say. We don’t tell people what to think. We don’t tell people who to get it on with. We don’t tell people who to dump,” he says. “We don’t tell people who we want to get evicted. We don’t put words in people’s mouths. They all own their thoughts and feelings.”
Which is why, no matter how many seasons go by, reality TV still has incredible staying power. “No matter how many people say, “‘It’s fake, it’s bullsh*t, it’s rigged’, I can tell you right now that it isn’t. I’ve never told anybody in the house what to say in my life, and I never would,” Alex says. “That’s it. It’s real human drama. It’s real human soap opera, and that’s why it’s probably here to stay for many, many years.”
For more on what Alex had to say, listen to the full episode here.