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:

Three magazine articles, one cheesy appearance

I’ve published three stories recently:

Discussing the reality of reality TV on the Reality of Reality podcast

I was honored to be a guest on The Reality of Reality podcast, and had a great conversation with Aliza Rosen, a development executive and reality TV producer who interviews people who are involved with reality television.

It’s a podcast I’ve been a fan of since discovering it early last fall—it’s a great resource for anyone interested in the business of unscripted television.

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:

Donald Trump, president and reality TV producer?

News that Donald Trump would retain a producing credit on The Celebrity Apprentice—and retains his stake in the show—broke late this week, just as NBC was promoting the new season, which starts in early January.

  • The Washington Post interviewed me about what the “executive producer” title means in reality TV. (Answer: there are many, many different possibilities.)
  • APM’s Marketplace Morning Report interviewed me Friday morning about whether or not this will help the show, and/or represents a conflict of interest for Trump.
  • I wrote about this on reality blurred, suggesting that both the conflict of interest—and the new person NBC cast—are two strikes against the show, which should not air.