Naked, Afraid, and At The Mercy of Producers

Oct 2, 2013

Connecticut resident Shane Lewis starred in "Naked and Afraid" a reality television show on the Discovery Channel.
Credit Discovery Channel

"Reality TV" is perhaps the biggest misnomer in the entertainment industry today. A better name would probably be "scripted unscripted television." It's not catchy, but at least it's accurate.

Except in reality television, accuracy generally doesn't matter. Telling a good story does. And often that story isn't the most flattering portrayal of the people on camera. Connecticut resident Shane Lewis broke three toes while filming "Naked and Afraid" for the Discovery Channel, but the producers downplayed it to a mild "foot injury" in the final cut of the show. 

Is any of this really surprising? Does anyone actually think "reality TV" is a pure unfiltered look into the lives of duck call magnates or people named Honey Boo Boo? Today we spoke with a refeshingly honest television producer and with Shane Lewis about spending 21 days in a jungle with legions of posionous animals. We also ask freshly-minted NPR television correspondent Eric Deggans just how long this genre is poised to last. 


  • Rebecca Hertztelevision producer/writer based in Los Angles.
  • Shane Lewisparticipant on "Naked and Afraid" on the Discovery Channel. Author, "Growing Up: Institutionalized to Globetrotting"
  • Eric DeggansNPR television critic/author, Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation.

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This episode was produced with help from Jonathan Scranton.