Confessions Of A Reality TV Producer

By Sharon Houston

I work in syndicated daytime court TV. Ever watched Judge Judy or The People's Court? I haven't worked on those shows specifically but they're the most popular so I thought I'd use those as examples. (Since I'm still earning a living working on shows like these, I won't name my employers.) My job is to find the people who are willing to have their cases heard on TV and get them to L.A. so they can get justice while making TV magic happen.

On Getting No Respect
I've learned a lot from working in this genre of television. First, I get no respect in Hollywood because we're at the bottom of the Hollywood food chain. There's feature films, one hour dramas, half hour comedies, late night talk shows, commercials music videos, reality TV, daytime talk shows, student films, porn, snuff films, Jersey Shore, and then Daytime Court TV.

Second, most of the population that's heading to small claims court to sue someone doesn't have a full set of teeth. If we book you on the show and you don't have teeth, we'll buy them for you. I've been held hostage by litigants who said they weren't going on and I've had to threaten to take their teeth back. I've had others who said they wouldn't put their teeth in until we paid them money just for showing up. Recently, I had a litigant forget her teeth and I got in a lot of trouble for not reminding the person more than fifteen times to bring her teeth to L.A. Telling someone fourteen times isn't enough, apparently.