reporting and journalism

In my coverage of reality television, media, and popular culture, I’ve broken news, conducted in-depth interviews, and examined trends.

A selection of those stories is below, or you can browse all my reporting by publication.

Can Food Network Survive in the Age of Netflix Cooking Shows?, GrubStreet, Aug. 7, 2018.

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.”

Survivor Spoiler Exposes Russell Hantz as His Source, The Daily Beast, Jan. 31, 2011.

Who was leaking the results of CBS’ reality show Survivor? A lawsuit filed by a shell corporation revealed the answer, and it turned out to be the show’s biggest star.

Why there is less reality TV on television this fallThe Los Angeles Times, Oct. 9, 2016.

The number of hours of reality TV on broadcast networks was falling. My reporting discovered there was a reason for that, and that turned out to be a trend in Hollywood: fear.

‘Marred at First Sight,” Now in a Lasting RelationshipPacific Standard, March 15, 2016.

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.

The Real World’s Dustin Zito on His Gay Porn Past. The Daily Beast, April 27, 2011.

MTV’s The Real World cast someone who’d done porn, and he and the show’s producers talked to me about .

Don’t call it a comeback, Salon, May 23, 2001.

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.

Reality TV show contracts

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.