Agents Play Both Sides, The End of Reality TV, and Can It Be Hacked?

Welcome to Reality Bits: Inside Baseball Edition, where we discuss some issues pertinent to people currently working in the industry. For everyone else I promise an in-depth think piece about The Bachelorette next week!

We start off with a guest post from Lowbudgetfun where he debates the likelihood of a Reality show getting hacked Game of Thrones-style …

Can Reality be Hacked?


I’m surprised that sophisticated hacks like HBO’s make the news anymore. But here we are again, and I wonder when the first great hack of a reality television production company is going to happen? Call Sheets, deal memos, and other production documents are a trove of sensitive information about cast members (1). At the same time our outdated labor laws allow freelancers to handle sensitive information on personal electronic devices with no security protocols. I see a big hole in NPA’s resource page. Just saying.

(1) Unlike the call sheet of a feature film in which the actors, who are usually staying in hotels, travel to and from set; in reality television, the cast members’ homes are the set. Call sheets often list the home addresses of reality television stars.

Playing Both Sides:


Those of us at the Showrunner level often discuss the value (or lack thereof) of having an agent. I have had an agent and now choose to operate without one; here’s my take.

PRO: You definitely find out about more jobs and get more interviews.

So, good, right? But…

CON: Your agent expects their 10% tithe even when you agree to a far lower rate than usual, even if you land the job by yourself. Ten percent of a showrunner rate isn’t too painful, but ten percent of a Story Producer rate? Ridiculous. Bye-bye take-home.

CON ARTIST: The biggest, baddest, issue (that probably applies to narrative showrunners as well) is that the agencies usually represent both the production company and the freelancer that the company is hiring. Less agent, more recruiter, taking a cut on both sides. This was, always the case with my agent.

Agents are “negotiating” with one client (the production company) for the contract of another (the showrunner). 

Call me crazy but isn’t this a massive conflict of interest and an anti-trust issue?

Is Reality Dying?

Anyone who’s been looking for industry work lately can attest it’s very dry out there. I mean, like, drier than Guy Fieri’s hair. Drier than an ashy girl on ANTM. Drier than the damn breakfast muffins at those crap hotels they put us up in in the field.

I won’t pretend to know all the reasons why, but I’ll throw out a few for consideration:

  1. Streaming has had an impact on television as a whole with a substantial drop in viewership since 2012.
  2. More streaming means fewer viewers for the fringe channels that kept the industry popping in the boom years.
  3. Reality stories are build around – or towards – “moments” like this …

which are now consumed (especially by teens and peeps in their early twenties) on digital platforms.

Is reality dying? My answer is yes. But I encourage your thoughts on the matter.

One thought on “Agents Play Both Sides, The End of Reality TV, and Can It Be Hacked?

  1. In regards to your CAA piece: when an agent represents both sides of a deal, this is called “dual agency.” In Real Estate this is a huge violation and brokers can lose their license if the dual agency is not disclosed at the beginning of negotiations. In fact, NYS law requires both parties to sign a dual agency disclosure agreement. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few class-action lawsuits to start flying around.


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