Tag Archives: The Bachelor

A Filmmaker Gets an Opportunity of a Lifetime

Unreal Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

One of my favorite things about writing for Adweek is the opportunity to find all these fascinating advertising angles in stories about the TV industry. My most recent Adweek story, about Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, is a great example of this. She’s the co-creator of UnREAL, Lifetime’s upcoming drama that goes behind the scenes at a Bachelor-like reality dating competition program. And it’s all due to the time she spent as a content producer at ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, which gave her a fresh start in 2005 after she literally fled her reality TV job on The Bachelor:

“Part of how I got out of my contract was leaving the state,” said Shapiro, who drove to Oregon where she planned to “drop out and be a kale farmer or embroider tapestries.” But the Portland-based W+K had other plans for her. The agency reached out, asking her to work on Battlegrounds, a docuseries featuring NBA star LeBron James it was making with MTV. “It was like a moth to the flame,” said Shapiro, who joined as a content producer.

While working for Wieden, she developed the idea for Sequin Raze and cornered DeSipio when she arrived at W+K in 2011 after 20 years as a TV executive and producer. Thanks to DeSipio’s outsider perspective, “she was naïve enough to say, ‘Why not? Why can’t we do it?'” said Shapiro. “Sally became my total champion from that time forward.”

In addition to tracing UnREAL’s unusal genesis, I also look at Lifetime’s position as it enters this year’s upfronts, and talk about A+E Studios, the in-house production company that produced UnREAL. The show doesn’t premiere until June 1, but I was very happy to contribute this story to Adweek’s Women’s Issue.

A Filmmaker Gets an Opportunity of a Lifetime

You Really Don’t Want to Watch Fox’s ‘I Wanna Marry “Harry”’

wanna marry harry

No. Just, no. Proving that it has learned exactly zero lessons since foisting The Next Joe Millionaire upon the public, Fox has once again failed to clone its 2003 reality mega-hit, Joe Millionaire. This time around, we’re stuck with I Wanna Marry “Harry,” in which 12 dimwits vie for the hand of a man they think just might be Prince Harry. As I wrote at The Daily Beast,

Instead of upending the genre as Joe Millionaire did, the inert Harry mostly shows how much things have changed since then. Very few Bachelor viewers—despite the efforts of host Chris Harrison—wholly buy into that show’s fairy-tale storyline anymore. The turning point came in 2010, as audiences were exposed to the creepy serial killer vibe given off by Jake “Stop Interrupting Me” Pavelka during his nasty on-air split with “winner” Vienna. Then, there was a near revolt this past Bachelor season, as almost all the women (and even Harrison himself) ultimately turned against Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis as a result of his douchey behavior both onscreen and off.

Now, many contestants and viewers have realized that the real way to “win” The Bachelor/Bachelorette isn’t by becoming the last suitor standing and getting engaged. Instead, the key is to play your cards right and score the better prize: either become the runner-up who was compelling and beloved enough to be selected as the next Bachelor/Bachelorette, or embrace the villain(ess) persona that’s a direct ticket to getting booked on spinoff shows like Bachelor in Paradise (airing this summer). Continued employment, not true love, has become the real Bachelor allure.

If you wanna watch Harry, you’ll only get an uninspired retread of a once-revelatory idea.

You Really Don’t Want to Watch Fox’s ‘I Wanna Marry “Harry”’