Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Reality TV Show, Anyone?


by Sybil Johnson 

Recently, I’ve been hearing about a new reality TV show that’s in the pilot stage – America’s Next Great Author hosted by Newberry Medal winner Kwame Alexander. Co-Creators Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry will serve as mentors. Jason Reynolds, Angie Goff and Marga Gomez will serve as judges. It’s billed as an effort to “give more authors a seat at the publishing table.”

You can read more about them and the official details here: 

Apparently, the way it works is as follows. The first phase is tryouts that are being held around the country. Contestants will have one minute to pitch their book ideas. This will eventually be pared down to six contestants who will live in a house together and have one month to finish the first draft of their novels. At the end a winner will be announced.

Applications were accepted through September 15. The 100 semifinalists were to have been notified by October 1. They’ll attend the pilot taping on October 30. During that taping, 20 semifinalists will be accepted to live pitch their ideas. The winner of the pilot will receive $2,500. The pilot is taping in New Jersey and contestants have to arrange for their own travel.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I think about this other than I don't want to participate in anything like this. I haven’t seen any details about what the winner of the entire show, not just the pilot, will receive. Money? A guaranteed publishing contract? All I’ve seen so far is info on the pilot. And, just because they’re taping a pilot, doesn’t mean that the show will go forward. It still has to be picked up. Something tells me that there’s not much chance of that. But, you never know.

I can’t believe that people will be all that interested in watching writers work. And, I’m sure the producers of the show, if it continues to the house stage, will try to amp up any conflicts between contestants to make it more “interesting”.

According to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware, this isn’t the first time such a show has been attempted. I was actually surprised by that. At the end of her post she has a list of similar reality shows that have been attempted and failed. 

Her post:

I suspect this will be one of those things that gets some press in the initial phase, then just fades away.

What do you all think about this idea? Has anybody ever competed in anything like this? Would you do it?


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