WGA Says Reality Shows are Scripted

Posted on August 10, 2004

The Writers Guild wants reality TV shows listed as "scripted" shows, in order to be covered by the guild contract for TV writers. As part of the negotiations, the WGA provides proof positive that those so-called "reality shows" are anything but unscripted reality. For example, most shows use "Frankenbites": the art of switching around contestant sound bites recorded at different times and patched together to create what appears to be a seamless narrative.

The writers also pen jokes, commentary for the hosts and contestants and make sure that each episode has a beginning a middle and an end -- in other words, a story arc. Think of it as "better than reality" TV.

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