Troy DeVolld: Divorcing Basketball Wives: End of an Era (well, for me, anyway)

It’s been said that TVWriter™ hates all reality TV. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of it is so perfectly choreographed, written, edited, produced that it stands out from the crowd. And, over recent years, one Acme Super High Percentage of that good stuff has come from LB’s buddy, Troy DeVolld.

Gotta love how Troy thinks:

*Apr 07 - 00:10*

by Troy DeVolld

My fifth and final season of Basketball Wives makes its debut on VH1 on August 19th. Leaving a great franchise is tough, but it’s just time. To all my colleagues at Shed, VH1 and in the field, cast members and former bosses who have moved on to other opportunities as well — thank you for making the last three years a very special part of my life.

I started work on Basketball Wives in 2010, which is twenty-one years ago in television dog years.    The series spun off multiple seasons of Basketball Wives LA, and I even found myself working one season on the unrelated Baseball Wives, an unfortunate swing-and-miss with viewers.  All in all, between January of 2010 and my last day on Basketball Wives this May, I put 92 episodes of content behind me at Shed.  If you’d like to forget the bizarre one-off clip show, I’m cool with calling it 91… which is still a whole lot of show.

Along the way, Basketball Wives racked up some great numbers and topped the first-ever survey charting viewer engagement on social media platforms, using data from Twitter and Facebook — analyzing total comments, unique commenters and average followers per unique commenter.

The fun part was that we, the team in post, were fans of the show, too.  I can’t remember the last effort I worked on where everyone was so eager to read the field notes and follow what was happening in the field.

All in all, it was a fun ride.  I got to work with people like Nick Emmerson, Alex Demyanenko, Jen O’Connell and Pam Healey on the Shed side, and some great people at VH1.  Sean Rankine and his team always delivered in the field, and our post staff was among the best organized I’ve ever known — Lainee Fiorentino, Lindsay Ringwald and Bill Ostrander should have statues in their likeness cast for the lobby.  The story team in post?  Andrew Hoagland, Cary Krowne, Eduardo Penna, Regina Romain, Heather Miller, Christian Huber and Sarah Pavia positively crushed it. We had more great editors swing through those 92 episodes than I can name here without feeling like I’ll inadvertently miss someone.

I sincerely hope we’ll all meet again.

Robin Reed: There is no reality on TV

If anyone remembers my post about cable reality shows, you may be interested in this news story:

‘Storage Wars’ Staged, Fired Star Claims in Lawsuit – by Tim Molloy

“Storage Wars” star David Hester says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that he was fired after complaining that the reality show is staged.

In the lawsuit, Hester contends that the producers of the hit A&E series routinely plant valuable items in the storage lockers seen on the show. Competitors place bids on the lockers without knowing what is inside them, hoping to come across forgotten treasures.

Also read: ‘Storage Wars’ Star Brandi Passante Files Real Lawsuit Over Fake Porn Video

In one case, the lawsuit contends, A&E planted a pile of newspapers reporting Elvis Presley’s death. In another episode, according to the suit, a BMW mini car was found buried under trash.

An A&E spokesman said the network does not comment on pending litigation. The series is the most popular in A&E’s history.

The lawsuit pulls no punches, alleging that “nearly every aspect of the series is faked, even down to the plastic surgery that one of the female cast members underwent in order to create more ‘sex appeal’ for the show…” The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, says the surgery was paid for by the show’s production company, Original Productions.

Hester also contends in the suit that Original manipulates the outcome of auctions by placing bids on behalf of “the weaker cast members who lack … both the skill and financial wherewithal to place winning bids.” Hester’s suit names A&E and Original Productions, which also produces “Storage Wars” spin-offs shows based in New York and Texas. He says he suffered more than $750,000 in damages because of what he considers his wrongful termination.

It seems there is no reality in reality TV.

Read it all

Particle Physics and Reality TV

by Robin Reed

Physicists say that you can’t observe an atom or subatomic particle without changing it. I have begun to wonder, in the cable reality TV shows that I watch, how TV changes its subjects. Is a fur trapper in Alaska in danger when his plane won’t start? What if he has a TV crew with him? Surely they have their own plane and can give him a ride.

The Ghost Hunters were plumbers when the show started, but they haven’t mentioned that for a while. How much does the show pay? Do the American Pickers really need the small profits from each item or is the TV show paying more than their original business ever could?

These shows are low budget and probably start out paying little or nothing, but when one is a hit, they must start paying pretty well. The Cake Boss is building a factory and is going to sell cakes in grocery stores. Did he get the money for that from his show? Or was he able to get a loan because the show made his cakes famous? Either way his business was changed by TV.

I have thought of trying to buy storage units and selling what I find, but is that business really viable or does it just look good on TV?

I have a friend who recently visited the Pawn Stars shop. She said it’s smaller than it looks on TV, and the now-famous cast are only there when the show is being shot. Does the production company pick the customers for the show because they have the most interesting items or look interesting? Does it have to get signed releases from everyone in the store?

Are some of these reality stars now really actors, who pretend to be in their original business, then get in expensive cars and drive home to mansions? I can’t imagine that a reality show doesn’t pay at all, no one would put up with having the cameras there unless they expected to benefit. Sharon Osbourne pushed her way into celebritydom via the reality show about her family.

Do any of these people have agents? Managers? Do they refuse to do the next season unless they get more money? Does someone who wrestles snapping turtles and has several teeth missing have a contract that says he can’t get his teeth fixed while the show is running?

I do wonder about these things. But I keep watching the shows.