Sofa Snark: Reality TV Kills CA's Budget (HuffPo)

Sofa Snark: Reality TV Kills CA's Budget (HuffPo)James Sims is the Editor-in-Chief of and Senior Editor of Sofa Snark is an ongoing critical blog focusing on all aspects of show business, from television entertainment to Broadway offerings and general pop culture.  This column also appears on the Huffington Post and  Follow James on Twitter @simsjames for daily show business links, musings and a bit of snark.

burnettReality television guru, Mark Burnett, recently talked with The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd about his upcoming series Shark Tank, set to premiere this Fall on ABC. Throughout the chat, Burnett touted his TV offerings as “high-quality” programming, going so far as to say his new show “belongs up there with great dramas.” Judging by Hollywood’s grand gestures – giving reality TV shows Emmy Awards and honoring Burnett with a star on the Walk of Fame – the producer has every reason to believe he is crafting “great dramas.”

Then again, those in the industry, working below-the-line, might beg to differ with the Australian import. In case network television executives haven’t noticed, California is flat broke. With Sacramento scrambling to fix its $26.3 billion hole in the budget, and banks refusing to accept the state’s I.O.U.s, networks should be ashamed of themselves for shunning local production, opting instead for unscripted programming, year after year.

FilmL.A., the office behind film permits for the city, reported last month that the number of prime-time TV pilots shot in Los Angeles is down nearly 42 percent. The organization estimates that pilot production spending in the L.A. region is down more than $100 million this year, compared to 2005.

Lawmakers are trying to ease that burden, slightly, with the new annual $100 million incentive plan, spread out over five years. But, without network executives giving the green light to scripted programming, there will not be any substantial productions spending money in California. It kind of defeats the purpose.

Perhaps “American Idol” host, Ryan Seacrest, will start feeling generous and donate some of his bloated income. Turns out the former afternoon radio jockey could soon become “one of the highest-paid reality hosts on television,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. I doubt FOX will be paying the metrosexual personality with I.O.U.s anytime soon…

Continue reading this blog post at The Huffington Post.



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James Sims James Sims is the Senior Editor at Beyond his duties on this website, James also contributes as a featured blogger for the Huffington Post.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, California, James spent time working as an entertainment reporter on the west coast before heading to New York City to attend Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. For more information, visit and follow James on Twitter at @SimsJames.