3 Reality TV Stars Discuss the Fights, Editing, Alcohol and Why Producers Are 'Like God'

In late April, Jezebel moderated a conversation between three reality TV alumni: Amber Marchese (Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Season 6), Irene McGee (MTV’s The Real World: Seattle), and Shii Ann Huang (CBS’s Survivor: Thailand). In a lively discussion, the trio traded stories about their filming experiences—where they overlapped and where they differed, why they chose reality television, and how the genre has evolved.

In Part 1 of our roundtable (the video above), McGee also got passionate about the dangers of alcohol on set—“We’re watching these Housewives get drunker and drunker and drunker,” she noted. Huang talked about fair edits and psychological testing for Survivor. And Marchese explained the difficulty of turning off her rage post-filming.


While reliving her time on The Real World, McGee argued that MTV producers could have not aired her classic confrontation with castmate Stephen, who slapped her on camera, and Marchese offered a grand summation of the producers’ role on these shows: “It’s like they’re God. They get to see everything.”


Watch Part 1 of our roundtable above, and look out tomorrow for Part 2, in which the women discuss our reality TV president.

Senior Producer: Jennifer Perry; Producer: Zoe Stahl; Editor/Animator: Heather Hass; Shooters: Phoebe Bradford, CJ Dominguez, Santiago Garcia



I can’t really watch this at work, but it kind of bothers me that Amber Marchese was invited to be part of this. She and her husband were professional fans of RHONJ and stalked the cast to the point of nosing their way into the producers’ line of vision just for the sake of being on television. There is not one minute of Amber and Jim’s time on that show that you can convince me wasn’t thrilling and wonderful and full of planning for them. So her thoughts here don’t really count, in my opinion.

Of course, not that everything on reality TV isn’t totally manufactured nowadays, including relationships between Housewives, but I feel like Irene has a completely opposite - and far more organic - and far more credible - opinion of the manipulation that goes on behind the scenes.

Amber, on the other hand, may as well be another producer herself. She knew exactly what she was getting into because she chased it like a cat in heat.