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Making Reality TV out of writers

by: Garry Pierrepont (25 November 2013)

I suppose in the end there will be a Reality TV show for every possible opportunity for competition. However, I have to confess that I never foresaw a Reality TV show about writing.

But there is one; a brand new one, on Italian TV, called Masterpiece. The premise is that aspiring authors compete at literary challenges until one contestant wins a major book deal.

I guess the "instant fame" nature of reality shows would eventually appeal to writers, who normally expend many patient (or impatient) hours of solitude to come up with their book, and follow that up with (probably many more) hours writing to publishers and agents, only to be met with standard rejections.

The programme follows the standard Reality-TV format of judges and show-by-show eliminations, and a 100,000-copy print run for the winner (probably timed to finish in time for the Christmas market!).

The New York Times did a piece on the show on its website, saying: “During the shooting of an episode last month, ‘four contestants [were] perched behind their keyboards, with every typed word projected on screens for all to see, as a timer above their heads counted down and cameras swooped in for close-ups.’ ”

One contestant, Ms. Piana, said the NYT, "applied to be on the show after failing to find a publisher for a novel she wrote tracing the lives of a group of Italians from the 1960s to the present. 'Not being known was the impetus that pushed me here,' she said. 'Maybe with a tiny bit of visibility, there’s hope.' Minutes later the judges voted her off the show."

I'd be surprised if the final result wasn't more a triumph of the writer's personality rather than his/her writing.

It's not for me. I hope it doesn't make it to UK TV.

Views: 1577

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Ref: 23 Of course, all writers need gumption and drive. I think putting yourself on to a Reality TV programme shows something else. Maybe desperation, or the search for fame.
Garry - 14:50 25-11-2013
Ref: 22 At least it shows a bit of gumption and drive on the part of the writer. She'd be better off getting some visibility on social media and her own blogsite!
Marilyn - 12:49 25-11-2013

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