Reality TV makes inroads in sports realm

But boundaries are still evolving, Summit panelists say


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TV’s behind-the-scenes peeks at athletes are here to stay. In fact, as Bruce Jenner pointed out Thursday, they’ve been around since at least the “up close and personal” era of Roone Arledge’s ABC Olympics coverage four decades ago.

The X factor going forward, as those on the Convergence of Reality and Traditional Sports panel at the Variety/SVG Sports Entertainment discussed, is the evolution of what is shown, what is left in the cutting room and what never gets on camera at all.

“I think it’s a big concern,” said ICM head of broadcast and media Nick Khan. “The nut that everyone wants to crack is a college football version of (HBO’s) “Hard Knocks.” But if you go behind the scenes, you could see some things that the NCAA doesn’t want you to see.”

The decisions are made rapidly at times. MLB programming and business affairs veep Elizabeth Scott said that the production turnaround time for HBO’s upcoming doc on Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit is inside of two weeks.

Khloe and Lamar” exec producer Jeff Jenkins said he has been given tremendous access in following Lakers forward Lamar Odom, but issues of trust and perspective are kept in mind when filming.

“We don’t want to ding a practice, a game or even his mood,” Jenkins said.

Jenner, the former Olympic decathlete and current patriarch of Khloe Kardashian’s family, joked that there was at least one positive side to the all-access sports-reality show.

“I’ve been living with these women for a long, long time,” Jenner said, “and nobody really knew what I was going through.”

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