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How to Write a Reality Show

From LoveToKnow Reality-TV

With the massive success of reality television, a lot of people are wondering how to write a reality show. You may

think that since reality TV is supposed to be unscripted, writing a reality show should be easier than writing other

kinds of television shows. There is more to creating a reality show than just letting cameras roll, however. Writing the

show will be the key to creating a successful finished product.

Get ready to write the your reality TV script!

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How to Write a Reality Show: Developing the Concept

The first thing you will need for your reality show is a show concept. Is your show going to be a dating show? Will it

focus on a particular profession? Will the show test the ability of the contestants to complete a certain task?

Once you have decided the vein of your reality show, before you start writing out your concept, check out the

competition. What formats of shows in your chosen genre have been successful? Can you find patterns in past

shows as to what works and what doesn’t? By doing some research into past reality shows of the same style as the

show you hope to write, you will also discover which ideas have been done too many times and maybe even

determine a new idea that hasn’t been tried yet that your show can bring to the table.

Once you have an idea of your concept in your head, it is time to put the show concept on paper.

The Writing Process

To get started, you will need to write three things:

1. Logline – This is a one sentence summary of what your show will be. If you could only tell viewers and

networks one sentence to get them interested in your show, what would it be? That sentence should be your logline.

1. Summary – Your show summary should not exceed one page, and should offer a more in-depth description

of your show. Describe the structure of the show and give a general overview of how episodes will work.

1. Treatment – The treatment is the longest pre-writing document you will create. This is where you will really

flush out how the show will work. Offer both an overview of the show and an outline of how episodes will work. You

can also give some insight into what you will be looking for during the casting process and how you expect the show
to wrap up. You should also provide basic details, like how many contestants you will have, how many episodes you

require and where the show will be filmed.

These three things can be used to pitch your show. You should write several drafts of them, as the writing process

will help you clarify your ideas and really flesh out everything you need to make your show a success.

Now it is time to get into the nitty gritty. Write a mini-treatment for each episode. Most reality shows have a basic

format that each episode follows. For instance, consider a dating show like Flavor of Love. Each episode centered

around a challenge, a date for the winner(s) of the challenge and an elimination ceremony. Come up with the

framework, the challenges and themes of each episode, including what you will do for the big finale.

Things to Consider
Remember that a reality show is not like a fully scripted TV show. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Even though you are creating a framework for each episode, you will not be able to predict everything that

will happen. A great deal of reality tv "writing" takes place in the editing room as you create storylines with the footage

that you have.

1. Casting is very important on reality shows. Part of writing your reality show should involve coming up with a

good idea of what you want your cast to be like and what kinds of people you want to put together.

1. Make sure the challenges you come up can be accomplished. Research any help you will need to pull off

the challenges, such as companies from whom you can rent any equipment you need. You should also write out the


Last but not least, keep in mind that when you are writing a reality show, you are really creating a situation that will

draw a reaction from people. The way they react is the real story of your show.

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