Jennifer Armstrong
November 02, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Here’s a weird postscript to the recent charges that MTV’s The Hills is particularly staged — well, more staged than other reality shows. Last year, the Writers Guild of America tried to unionize the folks who give unscripted programs such as America’s Next Top Model a sense of plot and pacing — they even went so far as to picket the CW show (in coordinating T-shirts, naturally). But when their efforts fell massively short, executive producers replaced writers with story ”editors,” who are covered by a different union. For the most part. Now with a possible writers’ strike, there’s an outside chance that a few of these dialogue polishers — who are employed on such series as ABC’s Dancing With the Stars — could walk off the job, since they have some limited WGA coverage. And if that’s the case, you may witness the birth of a new TV subgenre: Actual Reality.

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