March is National Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing a lady we admire each weekday.
MARY-ELLIS BUNIM (1946-2004)
If you grew up watching soap operas or spent your high school and college years slacking off on homework in favor of a little show called “The Real World,” you have Mary-Ellis Bunim to thank. The TV producer was born in Massachusetts in 1946 and spent a significant chunk of her career working in daytime television, overseeing over 2,500 hours of programming as executive producer of classic soaps like “Search For Tomorrow,” “Loving,” “Santa Barbara,” and “As The World Turns.”
But in the early ’90s, the ambitious Bunim founded Bunim-Murray Productions with Jonathan Murray, and pitched a bunch of scripted soap operas to MTV. When they discovered that it was too expensive for the network, they decided to try out a new model — unscripted TV starring “real” people, as opposed to actors. “The Real World” was born, and the series was a such a massive success, it’s spawned a spin-off, “Road Rules,” and is now in its 21st season, with a 22nd season to debut later this year. It’s no wonder The New York Times dubbed her, “the mother of reality television.” Keep reading »
It’s not uncommon for aspiring actors to audition for reality TV shows, hoping a spot on Big Brother or The Real World will get them noticed by a casting director and catapult their career into, well, reality. But now there are people who don’t really aspire to be actors who play roles, they just want to be cast as themselves because they want to be famous, if only for one season of I Love New York. As one such person said, “I see that [reality TV] would fulfill the reason why I want to get into acting in the first place. I have that desire to express myself, to get what’s inside outside and there’s no more raw, real way than reality television.” A few enterprising people have opened schools or started offering classes in cities such as New York and London, teaching people how to be on a reality TV show. Robert Galinsky, an acting coach, performer, and producer, opened the New York Reality Television School after helping someone prepare for Animal Planet’s The Groomer Has It. He shares “eight commandment of reality television,” which include “show confidence not cockiness,” “say ‘yes’ as often as possible” (the reason for all of the hookups on The Real World?), and “never say ‘I am an actor.’” During the class, five TV cameras film the students’ every move to prepare them for the intensity of starring on a show.
Maybe one day, reality TV will become a major at colleges and become such a popular career path that everyone will be on a TV show, and shows will consist of people sitting on the couch watching other reality TV shows. Let’s pray this doesn’t happen though, because even watching Justin Bobby burp on The Hills was more exciting.
[Reuters] Keep reading »
The 20th season of The Real World premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on MTV. Yawn. This time, they’re living in an environmentally friendly home in Hollywood that looks like the set for a kids’ TV show. The place features a salt-water pool, a computer that runs on a battery that’s charged by riding a bike for two hours, bamboo soy candles (the wax is edible!), and dual-flushing toilets that also wash and dry your rear or front — no toilet paper necessary. This could make for an interesting season. [Think.MTV.com] Keep reading »