The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Reality shows target Dallas for mass production

THE BACHELORETTE - The ninth edition of ABCs hit romance reality series, The Bachelorette, will premiere MONDAY, MAY 27 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)
THE BACHELORETTE – The ninth edition of ABC’s hit romance reality series, “The Bachelorette,” will premiere MONDAY, MAY 27 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Craig Sjodin) BEN
THE BACHELORETTE – The ninth edition of ABC’s hit romance reality series, “The Bachelorette,” will premiere MONDAY, MAY 27 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)


Reality shows have formed around the city of Dallas for the scenery, the actors, the plot, and the theme.

Ben Scott, former “The Bachelorette” contestant was ABC’s most recent project, as a heartthrob who schemes and is defeated.

However, the final product that is America’s weekly entertainment is not completely or even partially the true story. Audiences see what they want them to see.

At first, it’s hard to make eye contact with Scott as he nervously fidgets with his phone, hesitant to release his guard.

Shy and compassionate, it is hard to believe how different Scott appears in the flesh compared to his on-screen bad boy role on “The Bachelorette.”

“It’s all about ratings,” Scott said. “They tell you after it’s over; this is a TV show.”

Audiences all over the nation gather around their television sets, even throwing parties, celebrating the weekly ABC TV series “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” all waiting to see a true romance develop before their eyes.

Fans root for their favorites and criticize those in their front-runner’s way.

Studios target Dallas as a resource of recruitment and filming for the wildly popular reality TV industry.

Dallas’ stereotypical residents, all attractive, wealthy, charming and oozing with the “We are better than the rest of the country” mentality, create the perfect stars and scenery for multiple storylines.

Shows like “Big Rich Texas,” “Most Eligible Dallas,” and “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” all use Dallas and the type of person or star the city breeds.

“It is a vibrant, growing area full of big Texas personalities and strong Southern opinions,” CMT Producer Natalie Woods said.

“If you want good TV, step into a DFW event full of Dallas socialites and you won’t be bored.”

Almost every year, Dallas is thrilled to have at least one representative of the city on reality TV.

However, this year Dallas’ Scott brought a lot of fame to his hometown, but not the normal loving attention the city is used to.

Labeled as the bad boy from the first episode, “It was only trouble from then on,” Scott said.

He, along with his friends, watched “the story play out” and how his exit would be portrayed to America.

“It’s almost like they pick their characters, and they already have your time on the show planned out in front of you,” Scott said.

“They know exactly who you’re going to be in the show, if you’re going to be the bad guy, if you’re going to be the sweet guy. It’s all in the storyline.”

Scott’s unique entrance on to the show, with his 3-year-old son, Brody, by his side, first produced a quick adoration for the young father.

However, that quickly changed when fellow contestants and fans reimagined the image of the devoted, doting father into a devious man capable of doing anything for season nine’s bachelorette Dez’s, or even more so, America’s affection and attention.

“People are going to make their assumptions of you regardless of how you act,” Scott said. “They decided to show me in a certain light.”

The roasting continued when Brody’s mother became a point of interest.

Did she give permission for the child’s introduction to national television? Why’d they break up? What kind of father is Scott?

“She got some pretty nasty emails and Facebook messages,” Scott said. “She even got offered money for my phone number, up to $1,000.”

It appeared Scott’s honest act of revealing one of the most important people in his life made him vulnerable to a multitude of questions, far more than ever imagined.

The same way the show is able to provide the audience with a character to hate, it can also bring light to a character that America can easily fall in love with.

A true America’s sweetheart, Melissa Rycroft is one of the most famous contestants to win the hearts of the entire country on season 13 of “The Bachelor,” which, according to Rycroft, was the most invasive reality TV show she has ever done.

Fans cheered for her, applauded when she won, and cried when the engagement was called off, leaving Rycroft heartbroken.

“You just gotta be yourself,” Rycroft simply advised. “The point of going on a reality show, at least for me, was to not get fame and all that. You just need to be yourself and represent who you are.”

Participants know filming is a major part of the game when they decide to sign up for the hopelessly romantic reality TV show, giving full permission to the studio to air their best and worst moments.

While fame may not be the intentional, desired goal of the contestants, it’s hard to believe finding a true and lasting love was ever a realistic expectation.

Both Rycroft and Scott were forced to deal with certain obstacles that decided their fate, the largest being the isolation from the outside world and the effect of mass desire produced from that exile. Cell phones were prohibited. Any form of Internet was prohibited.

They were cut off from family and friends and everything that lie outside the lavish walls of their “frat house,” as Scott described, while the studio dangled the treat that is the bachelor or bachelorette to “starving dogs.”

“If every once in a while they throw you a bone, you’re going to fight over that bone,” Scott said.

From the cattiness of the women to the overload of testosterone with the men, it was only a matter of time before the tension caused an explosion of drama, providing producers with plenty of material to fill the provided time slot.

“We’ve seen anticipation, excitement, happiness, anger, arrogance and devastation,” Woods said.

“Emotion is exactly what we want to get, and fortunately, viewers will get to see all types of emotions during this series as we have captured it all.”

As a result of this rare exposure, contestants’ camera time yields particular fortunes.

Rycroft’s charismatic and engaging personality landed her a spot on “Dancing with the Stars” and eventually her own show “Melissa and Tye,” starring her family in an everyday life scenario.

However, the series ended after the first season when Rycroft discovered her priorities had drastically changed.

“Once I became a mother, not much of anything else really mattered to me, especially not this career,” Rycroft said reflecting on her initial stumble into the business.

Scott returned to the DFW Metroplex and experienced many new opportunities that directly came from his reality TV stardom, but none as unique or life changing as that of Rycroft.

It all depends on how the show decides to portray you or better said, your character.

“The people that matter to me, my family and friends, they didn’t change their opinions of me at all,” Scott said.

The popularity of this “fleeting industry,” according to Rycroft, has one sole purpose: to capture engaging people in their most dramatic of moments.

“We have people from all walks of life with truly interesting unique characters,” said Andrew Conway, key assistant camera man for “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.”

“TV viewers are fascinated with people they don’t often come in contact with.”

Closing in on the Lone Star state, the city of Dallas in particular is populated with the kind of people America can easily connect with, according to Scott, the kind of people studio ratings prove to love, to hate, or at least to be entertaining.

In some ways, it’s a huge compliment.

“It’s a way to represent and I’m proud of Dallas; I’m proud of what everybody has done from it,” said Rycroft, “Keep the reality stars coming!”

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