I asked CBS executives about their reality shows’ problems with race. Here’s what happened.

I’ve written a lot about this season of Big Brother and its problems, and a few weeks ago, at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, I asked CBS executives about it: specifically, about the editing of their reality TV shows and the representation of people of color.

You can read our entire exchange here, along with follow-up questions by Eric Deggans, NPR’s TV critic.

You might also be interested to read what happened when another outlet covered that press conference and my questions and Eric’s questions. In short: They unnecessarily pointed out Eric’s blackness while ignoring my whiteness in the story.

All of this illustrates why even a dumb summer reality show matters: because these little examples of unintentional racism or implicit stereotyping pile up and become what people think of as the norm.

Here are Salon‘s TV critic Melanie McFarland’s tweets about the aftermath:

An anniversary, and three recommendations, plus a way to really stay up to date

First, I just realized it’s been 10 months since I updated the updates part of the web site, which perhaps I should rename to “occasional news.”

While I don’t update this part of my site that much, I do send a weekly newsletter with links to my writing and also newsletter-only content, so if you like updates, you should subscribe here; it’s free!

On to the actual updates!

Last week, reality blurred turned 19. That number seems so large I can’t quite fathom what happened to those years, though I’m thankful I don’t have to pay for its college education.

I’m really enjoying—and recommend!—these three summer reality shows: Holey Moley, Love Island, and Press Your Luck.

A few other recent highlights:

A search for the truth in CBS’ Hunted

The biggest new broadcast reality show in years is the CBS series Hunted, on which contestants attempt to hide from a group of “hunters,” former law enforcement officials who use all kinds of surveillance to track the teams.

The first few episodes intrigued me, but I also couldn’t understand how exactly a reality show got access to the information they were claiming to access—ATM camera footage, GPS coordinates for cars, car rental records.

So, I set about to fact-check the show, and the result is this story:

Interviews with people involved in reality television

In January, I spent time in Los Angeles at the Television Critics Association press tour, and while I was there, I interviewed many people about the reality TV shows they host, produce, created, star in, and/or write about.

Here are five of those interviews—plus one, with Bachelor spoiler Steve Carbone, that I conducted before leaving for L.A. Enjoy!

  1. Matt Iseman explains Team Ninja Warrior’s speed, his enthusiasm’s origin
  2. How Discovery’s Killing Fields is being produced in real time
  3. Why The Profit Marcus Lemonis needed to spin-off The Partner
  4. Two Oscar winners and an Emmy winner on Oscar doc sexism
  5. Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss on diversity, UnREAL, Ben Higgins
  6. How and why Reality Steve spoils The Bachelor