Reality TV gets its own convention: Horrifying or awesome? |

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Reality TV gets its own convention: Horrifying or awesome?

Just what Reality TV stars need – another venue to extend their 15 minutes. The first-ever Reality Rocks Expo will be held April 8-10, 2011 at the L.A. Convention Center. Per the announcement: “The ultimate Reality TV fan experience, Reality Rocks includes the ‘Fan Central’ show floor, live demonstrations, stage performances, VIP celebrity panels, and the first ever online Reality TV Awards voted on by the fans and hosted at the event. The ‘Fan Central’ show floor will offer fans the opportunity to meet their favorite reality television stars, watch and participate in Reality TV show demonstrations, and be among the first to preview the latest Reality TV programs. The show floor will feature a one of a kind ‘Rock ‘N Shop’ where fans will have the chance to get their hands on all of the hottest Reality TV fan merchandise and related products. Those attendees wishing to venture into the Reality TV world themselves will also be offered informative workshops and panel discussions about how to make it on Reality TV; casting calls for upcoming shows, and be able to pitch their own show concepts.” Though participating talent has yet to be announced (look for that this fall), Reality Rocks will be produced by e5 Global Media (owner of publications including BillboardThe Hollywood ReporterBack Stage, Adweek, and Mediaweek), and among the 23 honorary advisors are execs from Mark Burnett Productions and Bunim/Murray Productions, so this is a legitimate undertaking.

As a fan of the genre, I’m simultaneously appalled and excited by the idea. Horrifying: the idea of Bachelor Pad contestants signing autographs and people being so desperate to get on Dating in the Dark that they would attend a seminar for tips. Awesome: the chance to hear showrunners candidly describe the process of putting their series together. Obviously, there’s the potential for reunions and never-before-seen-footage to be screened. And we’re told the advisory committee has brainstormed ideas that include: doing a car makeover on stage, food demonstrations with top chefs, dancers performing their “winning” routine, and fan makeovers. What would you need to see at Reality Rocks to make it worth the trip?

I like the idea of demonstrations/performances on stage (you could charge a little extra for a ticket into a food festival hall if the chefs were serving it themselves). But I’d also want a panel of producers from the seediest reality shows (Paradise Hotel!) speaking about their impact on humanity; a panel of cameramen from various genres (celebreality, dating, dangerous job) describing their work and the constraints (if any) placed on them; a panel of the people who handle setting up the mansions and taking care of the day-to-day needs of dating show contestants; a panel of casting directors discussing how the applicant pool has evolved over the years; and, a special 10-year-anniversary tribute to VH1’s Bands on the Run.

Also, the presence of top-tier producers like Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth (Project Runway, Top Chef), Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster (The Amazing Race), and Thom Beers (Deadliest Catch) would make me feel less guilty. Your turn.