You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Reality’s dirty little secret

Producers choose booze to loosen it up

Sometimes being real just isn’t enough for reality TV — and that’s when a little booze can go a long way.

While thesps like “Will & Grace” star Megan Mullally get paid big bucks to portray lovable lushes on hit scripted skeins, participants in reality fare such as “The Bachelor” aren’t pretending to get smashed. They are.

The “Big Brother” house receives a booze allowance, while some “Survivor” reward challenges involve beer, and contestants on relationship entries like “Bachelor” and “Mr. Personality” are treated to cocktail parties. In the most recent “Bachelor” run, one contestant — Amber — wound up making a bad impression after drinking too much at several gatherings.

Sometimes the alcohol helps loosen up participants not quite used to the cameras and bright lights suddenly foisted upon them. But producers say they’re also just trying to put together a relaxing social situation that’s more conducive to interaction.

“It’s really trying to create a typical, daily, real-life scenario,” says Endemol USA topper David Goldberg. “Sure, we’re not all locked in houses for months on end, but these people are living their lives together in a social situation where alcohol consumption doesn’t pose any danger.”

Reality producer Matt Kunitz, a “Real World” alum, says that show’s participants were never handed alcohol, but went to bars on their own.

In fact, on the MTV skein’s Hawaii edition, one housemate was asked to leave and deal with her alcohol problem.

Kunitz now exec produces “Fear Factor” and “Dog Eat Dog.” He says both have a zero tolerance policy toward booze. “If a contestant even showed up on the set with a hangover from the night before, they’d be eliminated. Safety is No. 1.”

More TV

  • Dom Delport

    Vice Swings to Profit in the U.K., Eyes International Partnerships

    After a tumultuous period involving harassment scandals, job losses and restructuring, Vice has registered a small profit in the U.K., according to the company’s latest results. The uptick is welcome news for Vice as its new international boss, Dominique Delport, scopes out new production and partnership possibilities for the company’s content business. The U.K. was [...]

  • Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Mocks Former CBS Chief Leslie Moonves on 'Late Show'

    Leslie Moonves was known to take an active dislike of David Letterman making fun of him during that host’s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Show.” He probably isn’t enjoying being mentioned by Stephen Colbert either. Colbert used his monologue on Tuesday’s broadcast to poke fun at the former CBS Corp. CEO, who yesterday learned that [...]

  • Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba'Luther Series

    'Luther' Creator Neil Cross Working on Show's Movie Version, Idris Elba Says

    A movie version of crime series “Luther” is moving forward, with writer-creator Neil Cross working on the script, the show’s star Idris Elba confirmed at the launch of Season 5 in London. “We are really advancing on getting a movie version [of the show] up on the screen,” Elba said. “Neil is beavering away on [...]

  • THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces Midseason Premiere Dates

    In today’s roundup, NBC reveals midseason premiere dates for six shows, including “The Voice.” DATES  NBC has announced midseason premiere dates for four returning and two new series. “The Voice” will air Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m., and March 5 at 8 p.m. It will return April 23 at 8 [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • David Rhodes CBS News

    CBS News Faces New Challenges in Weeks Ahead

    At CBS News, President David Rhodes has a series of important decisions to make that could affect the trajectories of some of TV’s best-known news programs. As its parent company seeks to move forward from recent seismic events – the ouster of its former CEO, Leslie Moonves; a corporate probe into its workplace culture; and [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content