MINI-SERIES GETS “REAL” ON SHOWTIME
REALITY SHOW premieres November 1 on Showtime
(Chicago, IL)- Showtime Network acquires and sets air date for Sony International Television series, REALITY SHOW. An 8-episode, darkly satirical, miniseries, Reality Show begins November 1 at 11:30 p.m. EST and PCT. The remaining seven episodes will air each week at 11:30 p.m.
Reality Show follows Mickey Wagner (Adam Rifkin), a down on his luck reality show producer, as he crafts a sensational comeback. Fed up with how staged and phony reality shows are, Mickey hatches a revolutionary idea to pick an average American family and put them under all-encompassing surveillance…without the family’s knowledge.
The concept is to let real life unfold before the cameras. However, the family is boring. And the studio wants more sizzle. So Mickey starts to introduce drama into the unwitting family’s lives. Temptation to cheat, drinking, work problems…. chaos ensues. Everything unravels in a big, big way with shocking consequences.
Reality Show is the brainchild of Adam Rifkin, writer, director, executive producer and star of the show. Rifkin’s eclectic career ranges from broad family comedies to cult classics to dark and gritty urban dramas. He’s an A-list screenwriter with such movies to his credit as Mousehunt, Underdog, and last year’s mini-series. LOOK, also on Showtime.
In addition to Rifkin, the show stars Chicago actor and musician, Scott Anderson, and Kelley Menighan Hensley, a two-time daytime Emmy nominee for her portrayal of Emily Stewart on
The unwitting and unfortunate stars of the reality show are Dennis Warwick (Anderson) a 50-year-old accountant and amateur chef, Katherine (Hensley), a retired teacher and stay-at-home mom, and their daughter Amy (Monika Tilling), a high school honor roll student.
Mickey is convinced that if this family is unaware that cameras are following their every move, the natural drama of life that unfolds will be far more compelling than anything a team of Hollywood writers could manufacture.
Thanks to state-of-the-art identity software that cross references DMV records, passport records, credit card records, etc., Mickey gets the perfect all-American family: the Warwicks.
Mickey and his team are elated. He couldn’t have cast a more ideal family if he tried. After covertly setting up countless hidden cameras throughout their house, cars, and at Dennis’s work, along with a team of follow-vehicles armed with long lens video cams and a fleet of surveillance vans, the Warwicks are now, unknowingly, smack dab in the middle of Mickey’s electronic fishbowl. Now all Mickey has to do is wait for all the secrets and lies to emerge!
But Mickey soon realizes that this family he was so certain about is absolutely, mind-numbingly dull. Turns out, there are no secrets, no lies, no double lives. The Warwick family is completely void of any discernible conflict, and as everyone knows, conflict is the cornerstone of drama.
The network, which took a huge risk supporting Mickey’s idea, is none too happy that Mickey picked a dud of a family, so, they encourage him to inject conflict into the Warwick’s lives as a way to spice up the show. In a desperate attempt to salvage his series and keep the impatient network happy, Mickey begins to interfere. By introducing obstacles and conflict into the family’s life, Mickey quickly finds that betraying his original conceit and messing with his subjects makes for a far more fascinating show.
These dramatic injections begin small when Mickey has his assistant, Shane, steal the Warwick’s dog as a means of manufacturing the “lost dog” episode and intensify when his hackers mess with Dennis’ accounting at the office, putting Dennis’ spotless work record in jeopardy. Mickey employs an actress to pose as the new high school student with the sole goal of being a bad influence on goody-goody Amy. These small disruptions escalate and cause tragic ripples Mickey does not anticipate.
The show gets increasingly better because of these conflicts, the family begins to disintegrate and their lives spiral downward. As things get darker and darker Mickey rationalizes that all will be ok in the end, for once the episodes begin airing, fame will heal all the wounds caused by his morally bankrupt meddling
REALITY SHOW is an indictment of a medium that we are all equal parts fascinated and repulsed by.
Rifkin explains how and why he came up the concept for his series Reality Show.
Originally I didn’t want to satirize reality television because it just seemed too easy of a target. It’s like pro wrestling; it’s so over the top that it’s already a parody of itself. Everyone knows that it’s all fake and that all the wacky situations these people find themselves in are completely staged. But then I started to think about exploring it from the point of view of some of the people who make reality shows. Suddenly the idea shifted in tone. It got darker, more sinister. Who are the people who encourage all of this side show behavior? What is their rationalization process when they prod their subjects to humiliate themselves on camera?
What white lies do they tell their subjects to get them to do increasingly more embarrassing things, all the while knowing that when they get into the editing room they’re gonna make everything seem even more heinous than it already is?
And many of these reality show personalities are completely ignorant to how television works, how easily things can be manipulated in the editing room. A producer can slant even the most minimal footage in any direction he or she chooses. A couple of randomly captured quizzical looks at a party can be spliced together with a little sinister music and suddenly you’ve created the impression that two crazed women are about to come to blows right in the middle of the bar mitzva. In actuality the mom was grimacing at the chopped liver display and an hour later the ex wife was seen being pissed because her cell phone battery just died. But cross cutting those shots creates instant conflict. Now your episode has a story.
REALITY SHOW is a 30-minute, 8-episode series starting Thursday, November 1 at 11:00 p.m. EST on Showtime. Subsequent episodes will run every Thursday at the 11:30 EST. It was written, produced, directed and stars Adam Rifkin. Executive Producers include Jared Hoffman, Chris Pollack and Michael Petok.
Trailer, and further information can be found at the show’s website www.RealityShowTheSeries.com.