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Craig Plestis of Smart Dog Media and SallyAnn Salsano of 495 Prods. have more than three decades in the unscripted business between them. Despite working on very different series — his “The Masked Singer” imported a popular Asian format but kept its biggest personalities hidden behind giant costumes, while her “Paradise Hotel” reboot relies heavily on the audience making a connection with the contestants — they agree that the most important elements in the genre are to have passion and take big swings as producers.
Here, Plestis and Salsano talk about the increasingly competitive television landscape, how producers should use social media to be advocates for their own shows and what lessons they’ve learned along the way in their storied careers they wish they knew when they were first starting out.
Yourselves - Ideas - Reality - TV - Landscape
How do you continue to push yourselves to come up with ideas that feel fresh, even when the reality TV landscape is so saturated by dozens of similar formats?
Salsano: In the nature of spending time with family, sometimes I set it up so that it’s, “Let’s go to this place,” where I know there’s only couples on honeymoons so that I can come up with three shows about people fighting. There is a way to do it. You go to certain restaurants if you want to see certain kinds of people. If you put me at a desk with a piece of paper, I could almost die, but there are times where I’ll leave my office and start cooking and all of a sudden it all comes back. I have to get out and move around.
Fight - Everyone - Talks - Platforms - Broadcast
Plestis: You just have to keep pushing. There’s always that fight and everyone talks about the digital platforms versus traditional broadcast, and I watch both constantly. But what I still love about broadcast TV is we...
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