Topic: Reality Show Challenges

Reality Challenged: A Reality TV Producer Explains The Science Behind the Stunts

Reality Challenged: A Reality TV Producer Explains The Science Behind the Stunts

In this three-part series, Christian Niedan explains how producers create the physical challenges you see on your favorite reality shows.

America’s reality TV shows often face the basic challenge of making the mundane worth watching. For tag-along shows like Cops and Deadliest Catch, the action is built into the job concept. For personality-driven shows like Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives franchises, the job of the cast is to continually complain, drink and fight their way to ratings. But for the competitive last-man-standing genre, with its revolving doors of contestants vying for money, love and apprenticeships, games are a necessity for keeping viewers entertained. This is where a challenge producer comes in, because they are staked with coming up with the missions that shows like Survivor, Amazing Race and The Apprentice use to whittle down their ranks of competitors. More »