Monday, October 30, 2006

"Reality" TV hyped with booze

Under the headline, "Drink Up. It’s Not Like You Have Lines to Learn," staff writer Heather Fletcher in Sunday's New York Times exposes one of the seamier sides of "reality" tv -- the use of booze to loosen the actors' tongues and generate unusual dialogue and action. She quotes a number of reality show veterans who say that alcohol was one of the producers’ favorite tools. Producers made alcohol, but not food, very available, and encouraged them to drink before emotional scenes.

Sarah Kozer was a contestant on the 2003 Fox hit “Joe Millionaire,” in which she and others competed to win the affections of a bachelor. She says she was drunk or close to it in 90 percent of her on-air scenes. Champagne was served with lunch, dinner and in between during her 29 days on the set, she said in a telephone interview: “It was available 24/7.”

A 10-hour date at a winery with Evan Marriott (the show’s male love interest) and a 10-hour grand ball with one tray of appetizers and unlimited Champagne led Ms. Kozer to one conclusion: Producers were trying to get her sloshed. “Anytime anyone ever wanted something to drink, it was made available,” said Ms. Kozer, 31, who works as a television host and writer in Los Angeles. “Whereas if you requested tampons you’d have to wait a couple days.”

Several reality tv producers denied the charges and asserted that all alcohol use on their sets was monitored responsibly. Read more.

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