If you’re yearning to be on Big Brother or think your child would be a good fit for Kid Nation, you should be aware of some of the legal issues reality show contestants face. People get injured, and it isn’t all fun and games. Unfortunately, winning a lawsuit against the larger networks for legal issues on reality television is tough (if not impossible). So think about these legal issues before sending in your taped audition. Playing online is an excellent alternative if you want to make money legally without leaving the comfort of your own home.
1- Different Context – Your Words
Ratings are the only thing that matter on reality television. If you want to be a reality TV star, you should expect that what you do on set will differ from what is broadcast to the public. Producers of reality television have embraced a method known as “Franken-biting,” which involves splicing portions of language or action and placing them in a different segment of the film, according to SmartMoney.com.
When you sign your contract to be a competitor on a reality show, you will be informed of this fact, and once you sign, you will forfeit your chance to compete. This is a big legal worry for anyone uncomfortable with public scrutiny or concerned about their words being taken out of context. After all, even if it’s contrived conflict, it’s more thrilling when it occurs.
2- The Release is Compulsory
You must first sign a release that comprises a lot of legal jargon before becoming a reality TV contestant. It could specify how medical treatment will be provided if you become ill or wounded, or it could spell out the conditions of your network contract. Whatever the situation may be, once you sign the release, you’re stuck with it, and it may be tough to get out of it.
When you put your John (or Jane) Hancock on that release, you’re essentially signing away your freedom, which is a huge legal worry for reality TV contestants. It could dictate where you can go at night, when you can eat meals, and how many times you can shower every week. Depending on the nature of the reality show, the rules are more stringent.
3- What about a background check? Certainly not!
Although most major networks claim to do background checks on reality show contestants, you can’t always trust them. You’ve certainly heard about the “America’s Most Smartest Model” participant whose previous sexual assault accusations were overlooked before the show was put together. He was eventually charged with sexually harassing a young woman at a party, prompting questions about the background checks used on reality television.
If you want to be a reality TV competitor, you must consider safety and legal issues. Will you be safe on set or in your hotel room, and can you put your trust in your coworkers? Networks claim to be working on the issue and strengthening their background-checking systems, but you should always be cautious.