Entries in Reality Show (4)


Reality TV Gone Wrong -- American Adventurers Detained in Russia

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- A team of aspiring reality TV stars ran into the reality of foreign laws after they were detained crossing into Russian waters without authorization.

The American team was filming a series called Dangerous Waters Friday when they were detained by Russian authorities after crossing the Bering Strait, the body of water that separates Russia from Alaska, on their personal watercraft.

In an initial video posted on the show’s Facebook page shortly after they were detained, team leader Steven Moll sounded hopeful, saying, “We have to work through some laws, Russian laws, in order to move forward.”

But just a few hours later they posted an update saying they may be detained for a few days.

Moll’s wife told the Sacramento Bee that the crew was greeted by a Russian tank and armed guards as they approached the shore. She said the Americans had Russian visas, but were told there was a problem with their documentation.

Moll, who is producing and marketing the series, and his five companions had planned to travel from Alaska to Vietnam for the second season of a reality TV series that promised to take viewers to dangerous and remote locations only accessibly by personal watercraft.

“Keep your fingers crossed, we’re going to Russia,” Moll said in a YouTube video posted shortly before their departure.

Last year for the show’s first season they completed a 4,500-mile journey from Seattle to Russia on their Sea-Doos.

Family members of the detained crew said they were being treated well and were allowed to walk around the Russian military base, but were not allowed to leave. They said the men faced possible fines and were scheduled to appear in court.

As their detention continued over the weekend, Moll grew increasingly frustrated.

“We want to leave. They won’t let us leave,” he said in another video posted on YouTube. “All we really want to do is get some fuel and head back to the United States. This is ridiculous.”

By Monday the team posted an update saying they had finally been given permission to depart, but only back to the United States and not to the south as they had hoped.

“Russian authorities say they will give us permission to depart back across the Bering Strait tomorrow! Northern route now,” they wrote.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Death Row Interviews Attract 40 Million Viewers in China

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- While the rest of the world is watching what happens on American Idol, China has been watching what happens on death row.

For the last five years, a surprising show has been building a steady audience now estimated to be at 40 million viewers. Interviews Before Death is a government-approved television series hosted by a popular young journalist, Ding Yu.

Each week, Ding Yu goes into a prison to interview a man or a woman awaiting execution.  Some of her subjects have just hours left, others have days.  She speaks to them about the mundane facts of life on the inside as well as the gruesome details of the crimes that put them there. Their stories are broadcast in primetime in China’s central Henan province.

Now, the BBC and PBS are airing documentaries that go behind the scenes of filming and production.  The BBC2′s The Execution Factor will air Monday night and Dead Men Talking will be broadcast by PBS International. The latter was produced by the Chinese production company LIC.

PBS warns that the documentary is not for the faint-hearted.

“Almost all of the interviewees are perpetrators of horrific violent crimes, including a gay man who defiled his mother’s dead body after having murdered her; a group of career criminals that mistakenly kidnapped a young girl from a poor family but raped and killed her anyway; and a woman who burned her husband to death after having been physically abused for many years. The issues explored are both intriguing and complex. The subject is brutal and sad. One may even say the series itself is exploitative; however, it is Ding Yu’s passion for truth that is the driving force for the continued production of the series.”

The trailer indicates that emotions run high. Parents are seen saying goodbye to a son. Nearly half of the prisoners Ding Yu interviews are women and many are mothers.

The films also looks at the toll the series took on Ding Yu.  She has interviewed more than 200 men and women on death row.  She has said she pays an emotional price for her work, telling PBS, “I witness their thoughts before death.”

But she also comments freely, at one time coming face to face with a prisoner and telling him, “Fortunately, you are in jail. You are dangerous to society.”

The Chinese government reportedly approved the series on the argument it could be seen as a crime deterrent.  In China, according to the BBC, 55 crimes carry the death penalty.  They range from theft to murder.  Amnesty International believes China to be far and away the world leader in carrying out the death penalty.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Unemployment Rampant, Georgia Turns to...Reality TV?

Hemera/Thinkstock(TBILISI, Georgia) -- Governments worldwide are working to create jobs and the Georgian government has a new approach: reality television.

Literally titled “Employ and Get Employed,” the reality TV show is fast becoming a primetime favorite in the ex-Soviet country, the Wall Street Journal reports. American Idol meets The Apprentice as unemployed workers and aspiring entrepreneurs pitch business plans to a panel of judges which includes bank executives and political players.

Georgia's official unemployment rate in September stood at 15.5 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Keeping Up With the Mandelas? Nelson Mandela‚Äôs Grandkids Get Reality Show

Nelson Mandela's grandchildren, Swati, Zaziwe, and Dorothy are set to star in a new reality TV show early next year. Cutting Edge Group(JOHANNESBURG) -- Think the Kennedys, with a dash of the Kardashians. That’s perhaps the best way to make sense of a new reality show set to launch early next year in South Africa. This time, however, starring the Mandelas.

Three grandchildren of former South African President Nelson Mandela announced Thursday they will soon be launching their own reality show, according to a statement from the producers.

The show’s leading ladies, sisters Swati Dlamini-Manaway, 34, and Zaziew Dlamini-Manaway, 32, and their cousin, Dorothy Adjoa Amuah, 27, spoke to reporters in Johannesburg about the series, which they say will not feature their grandfather, 93-year-old, Nelson Mandela.

“The show will be about our lives as young, black women … we’re not wearing ‘I’m a Mandela’ T-shirts,” Dlamini, the granddaughter of Mandela’s controversial ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, told the Mail & Guardian Online.

While the initial, and far-too-easy, impulse to compare the girls to a current reality show trio, may be hard to ignore, the Mandelas see their role on TV differently.

“We’re definitely not the African Kardashians," Amuah said.

The creators of the show seem to be envisioning a new, high-brow style of reality TV.

They want to use the daily lives of the Mandela girls to showcase a new generation of working women in South Africa -- while at the same time, giving a glimpse into the daily lives of this prominent, high-profile family.

Producer Rick Leed, previously the executive producer of “Dr. 90210,” told the Mail & Guardian Online, "They clearly have a great love [for each other]. This may be part storytelling, part reality, except the story we are telling is real … it’s not going to detract from the dignity of Nelson Mandela.”

All three of the Mandela granddaughters grew up in Boston, Mass., but have since returned to South Africa.

Their grandfather, Nelson Mandela, is one of South Africa’s most beloved leaders and a driving figure in the long fight against apartheid. Increasingly frail, he recently moved from Johannesburg to his hometown of Qunu, where he makes few public appearances.

His thoughts on the show are not known, and attempts to reach the Mandela family have been unsuccessful.

The show’s producers however, say the Mandela family feels they have “fought for the right for their children to choose their own destiny.”

And so what happened when destiny called? Reality TV.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio