ABC‘s new injury-plagued Splash isn’t the only reality diving show hampered by safety concerns. Xinhua News Agency reports 18-year-old Peng Jiaxuan, assistant to martial artist/contestant Shi Xiaolong on China’s Celebrity Splash China, drowned in a pool during a training session April 19. The show broadcast on China’s Zhejiang TV and ABC’s Splash are both spin-offs of the original Dutch format. The death happened a day after US Splash contestant Nicole Eggert was injured on the set of ABC’s American version and subsequently hospitalized. In recent weeks fellow contestant Rory Bushfield ruptured an eardrum and Louie Anderson suffered bruised ribs in training, while show-related injuries forced Katherine Webb and Chuy Bravo to quit the show in its first month on the air.
The February 10 helicopter crash that killed three men on the set of an upcoming Discovery Channel reality TV show occurred while the crew was prepping to film a nighttime maneuver, according to a …
3RD UPDATE: All three victims of the helicopter crash have now been officially identified: pilot David Gibbs, 59, of Valencia; cameraman Darren Rydstrom, 45, of Whittier; and cast member Michael Donatelli, 45, of Indiana, PA. Donatelli’s background is unclear, though there is a former elite Special Forces Army officer-turned-private contractor by that name listed in Indiana, PA.
2ND UPDATE: The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office would not release the identities of the victims pending notification of next of kin but multiple sources identified the pilot as 59-year-old David Gibbs, owner of Crossbow Helicopters, the company the permit was issued to; and one of the passengers as Darren Rydstrom, 45, an experienced camera operator and DP.
UPDATED: The 3 died in a helicopter crash while filming a new reality TV series in California. The yet untitled military show is being produced for Discovery Channel by JD Roth and Todd Nelson’s Eyeworks USA (formerly 3 Ball Prods.), whose credits include NBC’s The Biggest Loser.
The makers of hot cable show Duck Dynasty have just cashed out. British television giant ITV announced today that it’s expanding its U.S. production arm ITV Studios America with the acquisition of Gurney Productions. ITV is paying $40 million for a 61.5% controlling stake in Gurney Productions, best known for Duck Dynasty as well as Auction Hunters, American Digger and Haunted Collector. ITV also has a put and call option to buy the remaining 38.5% which can be exercised from 3 to 5 years after the initial deal. “Gurney Productions is a high margin business with three quarters of its revenues coming from returnable series. The company’s EBITA for 2012 is forecast to be at least $10M,” ITV said Saturday. Gurney Productions will report directly to Paul Buccieri, Managing Director of ITV Studios International and President/CEO of ITV Studios America. Further, Gurney Productions’ revenues will be included in ITV Studio’s international revenues starting in 2013. Sources said the maximum total consideration payable by ITV is $111M, depending on the performance of Gurney Productions over the next 3 to 5 years and payable only if Gurney continues to deliver significant growth. ITV Studios America already produces
Syfy has added a trio of new reality programming to its line-up for next year. It was announced today that Ghost Mine, Stranded and Notorious Hauntings would premiere on the network in early 2013. “Each of these series takes a …
Darin Frank has become a partner in the Beverly Hills entertainment law firm of Sloane Offer Weber and Dern LLP. Specializing in unscripted television, the attorney’s clients include Sally Ann Salsano’s 495 Productions, producers of MTVs Jersey Shore, Gay Rosenthal Productions, producers of TLC’s Little People, Big World, Jeff Lewis from Bravo’s Flipping Out as well as the rest of the cast of that show and the channel’s Interior Therapy. He also reps the cast of History Channel’s Pawn Stars, the cast of Animal Planet’s Call Of The Wild and the cast of Discovery Channel’s The Devils Ride, among others. Frank’s addition to SOWD is immediate.
Ray Richmond is a contributor to AwardsLine
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has received a lot of criticism from the TV industry over the past decade for the way the Emmys have dealt with the explosion in reality and unscripted programming. Primary among the gripes are the fact there are too few categories, too many contenders, and too much of a one-size-fits-all framework.
“Everything is simply too lumped together for Emmy consideration,” charges one reality producer. “You’re putting Jersey Shore in the same category as Storage Wars. It makes zero sense.”
In defense of the academy, it hasn’t been easy keeping up with all of the sub-categories and sub-genres that have evolved since the unscripted boom began. And as primetime has changed, it’s worked to keep up. It added the Outstanding Reality Program category in 2001, Reality-Competition Program in 2003 and Reality Host in 2008. That’s in addition to categories honoring top Nonfiction Series and Nonfiction Special.
Related: EMMYS: Reality Competition Overview
And in May, the TV Academy’s Board of Governors voted to approve the creation for the first time of a Reality Peer Group. The move “speaks volumes for the academy’s sense of importance and critical mass that reality has achieved as an industry,” believes John Leverence, the academy’s longtime senior VP of awards.
The denigration aimed at the academy over how it groups and measures reality programming remains a hot button for Leverence. He stresses that the notion that there isn’t a depth of commitment to adequately recognizing the unscripted world is “a misperception. Going back to honoring Arnold Shapiro for Scared Straight in 1979, there’s been a presence and a place within the Emmy Awards for reality programming.”
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has learned that the three Nelson Mandela granddaughters who will star in their own reality show slated for next year will be making the pitch rounds at the U.S. networks beginning Monday. Rick Leed, the former president of Wind Dancer Production Group (Home Improvement) and who created and executive produced the E! reality series Dr. 90210 for six seasons, is the American producing partner on the series. It’s being distributed internationally and carries the title Being Mandela. The three central characters are Dorothy Adjoa Amuah, 27; her first cousin, Swati Diamini, 32; and Swati’s older sister, 34-year-old Zaziwe Diamini-Manaway (or “Z” for short). All three are granddaughters of Nelson, now 93, who will not participate in the show, nor will any of the womens’ parents. However, Mandela’s grandson Kweku Mandela is another of the producing partners. Leed said this week that the show — scheduled to start shooting in December and debut early next year — is drawing significant interest from “all of the top-tier cable players” including TLC, USA, A&E, Lifetime, Oxygen, E!, TNT, TBS and Bravo. “We’ll be in L.A. taking a very intense round of meetings with broadcasters next week,” he says. “It’s a very competitive situation and a very hot show.” He added that the show already has sold throughout Africa but not yet anywhere in Europe.
Parents beware: Tween and teen-aged girls who watch lots of reality TV “accept and expect a higher level of drama, aggression, and bullying in their own lives, and measure their worth primarily by their physical appearance,” according to a national survey conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute for a report Real To Me: Girls And Reality TV. Reality TV watchers are more likely than non-watchers to believe that “gossiping is a normal part of a relationship between girls” (78% vs 54%), that “girls often have to compete for a guy’s attention” (74% vs 63%), and that girls are happier when they have a boyfriend or significant other (49% vs 28%). Reality TV watchers also focus more on their physical appearance (72% vs 42%). ”Girls today are bombarded with media — reality TV and otherwise — that more frequently portrays girls and women in competition with one another rather than in support or collaboration,” says Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Developmental Psychologist, Girl Scouts of the USA. ”This perpetuates a ‘mean-girl’ stereotype and normalizes this behavior among girls. We don’t want girls to avoid reality TV, but want them, along with their parents, to know what they are getting into when they watch it.”
Oxygen has greenlighted Best Ink, a competition reality series featuring 10 tattoo artists competing for a cash prize. The hourlong project, originally announced as in development at Oxygen’s upfront in April, has received an eight-episode order for …
A. Smith & Co Prods Merges With UK-Based Tinopolis Group For $100M Deal Creating Reality TV Powerhouse
Insiders are speculating the deal is worth upwards of $100 million:
London / Los Angeles – June 28, 2011 – The Tinopolis Group and A. Smith & Co. Productions announced today that the two entities have joined forces by bringing A. Smith & Co. and its decade of success developing and producing some of the most notable unscripted television programming seen around the world under the Tinopolis Group, creating a transatlantic television powerhouse. A. Smith & Co. will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity based in Los Angeles joining and working with Tinopolis Group’s other companies which include television production entity Mentorn and sports television producer Sunset + Vine. The announcement was made today by Ron Jones, Executive Chairman of Tinopolis Group, and Arthur Smith, Founder and CEO of A. Smith & Co., who will join the Tinopolis Board of Directors and continue to lead the company alongside his partner and company President, Kent Weed.
Under this agreement A. Smith & Co. becomes the leading North American television production entity within the Tinopolis organization with the ability to tap into the company’s resources on a worldwide basis. This transaction brings together the financial resources and expertise of Tinopolis, one of the UK’s leading producers of media and programming, and its primary investor, private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, and A. Smith & Co.’s leadership which has pioneered genres and delivered ratings hits such as “Paradise Hotel”, “The Swan,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Trading Spaces,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” “I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” and “Pros vs. Joes.”