He used charm, others’ personal tragedies and fake celebrity endorsements. How Christopher LaVoie cast his reality show and reeled in successful entrepreneurs in the process. (Pioneer Press)
Like the title of his book, Christopher LaVoie’s book was a wake-up call. The New York Times reporter looked to the television show How I Got Hooked on Reality TV to discover how reality TV producers create a series, and then how viewers can replicate its success. The result is a book with more than 1,400 pages of stories and insights about how to build a reality TV show.
In interviews with the people behind the shows, LaVoie discovered a reality TV industry awash in drama and deception, and then some of the creative people who were pulling the strings.
These storytellers say everything from the good guys to the bad guys to the truth is always shifting in the TV business.
I met LaVoie at his home. A small, soft-spoken man with an intense face, he spoke with confidence and ease. When he entered the living room, I heard a low hum as his desk computer booted up.
LaVoie and I talked for over an hour about his book and his book tour.
What’s your role in the show and the business?
I started the show because I saw how hard it was to get on with major talent — and I thought, “I should try to make it easier for everybody to be on with all the little talent.”
I did the show to make it easier for everybody to be on, and then it became the biggest network hit in history. That’s the reality, though, that a lot of it is really in everyone’s hands. And it’s very sad to see it not being done right.
The show is not a business, it’s a business venture. It isn’t a reality TV show. And I’m always trying to promote it as that. I don’t promote it as a business. It’s not even reality television … It was a show that I