Want to know what really goes on behind the scenes on a reality television show? Comedian Tom Ballard is lifting the lid on the global phenomenon that is reality TV.
The host of new ABC entertainment series Reality Check, Ballard will be giving viewers a look inside reality TV shows from all different perspectives including hosts, judges, producers, past contestants and other industry experts.
Even though critics seem obsessed with shows like Game Of Thrones and True Detective, the stats show that the public are really watching reality TV. People all over the world are glued to their couches, fanatically following ordinary people competing for TV prizes and for the promise of love, fame, riches, a new career or a different life.
Tom sums up Reality Check quite simply. “It is going to be a really funny, and hopefully smart, show about how reality TV works. We are going to cover all of it — the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s going to be a bit of cheeky fun, really. I think there are a lot of reality TV snobs out there and that’s not what this show is about. It’s about how it all works, all the awesome moments and why it’s such a huge phenomenon. It’s just such a huge global force in culture.”
Co-produced by CJZ and ABC TV, Reality Check will explore the reality of reality TV, and Tom will be doing more than just cracking a few funny lines. “I’m excited to be doing a bunch of jokes about it but I’m also looking forward to talking about the bits that are genuinely moving. I get to make a comment on the human experience.”
Joining Tom each week as he probes the deep and profound mysteries of reality television will be three industry experts who will give viewers an insider take on the world’s most-watched TV genre. From producers to ex-contestants and judges, the panellists will give viewers their war stories and reveal what happens behind the camera.
When questioned about the selection process for the panellists, Tom hedges. “Actually, it’s more like people texting me and saying, ‘I definitely will not be on this show because I work in reality TV and I do not want to be fired from my current position,’ which of course I understand. But it’s going to be a very friendly show and it’s not just about ripping the shreds off the genre every week. We’ll also celebrate it, talk about the good stuff, and try to find out how it all works behind the scenes.
“I’m going to have to be really boring and say that we’re keeping the actual names of our panellists close to our chests, but we’ve decided to throw the net really wide and talk to all types of people, old and new, behind and in front of the camera to give us their perspective, their experience and their opinions. So we’ll be getting a whole bunch of insights from a lot of different angles, which I think is really cool.”
Nick Murray, managing director of CJZ, adds: “Reality is dramatic, funny, poignant, and in many ways, reflects our community more accurately than any other genre. This series examines how it works and asks the question: if Steven Spielberg is a genius for making audiences cry, why shouldn’t reality producers be lauded for doing the same thing?”
Tom Ballard hosts Reality Check on ABC at 9pm each Wednesday, starting August 13.