As Netflix moves into Food Network’s territory, and critics wonder why Food Network has left some of its audience behind, a Food Network executive told me, “I’m not in the food business. I’m in the television business.”
A ridiculous reality show premise—strangers getting married the first time they meet—actually offers lessons for how to create healthy relationships, according to the research I explored and experts I interviewed for this story.
Long before the era of peak TV, television had a problem with its inclusion of black characters—both in terms of numbers and content. Interviewing researchers and experts in and outside of the industry, I looked at how television portrayed, and created programming for, people of color.
As part of my work on reality blurred, the website I created in 2000 to cover reality television, I’ve obtained, published, and analyzed the cast contracts for several major reality shows—reporting that was once legally challenged by a broadcast TV network. Those documents are important because they reveal what cast members on these shows are giving up, and what they’re agreeing to.