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.”

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