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Reality TV: THR's 50 Most Powerful List

From singing competitions to the Kardashians, unscripted TV today is driven by these 50 behind-the-scenes talents (ranked, of course) who keep adding juice to the red-hot genre.

To call 2012’s jockeying for placement on The Hollywood Reporter’s Reality Power List the most competitive ever would be like saying the Kardashians have dabbled a bit in self-promotion.

PHOTOS: THR's 2012 Reality Power List

What does it really mean to wield power in reality TV? Is it about having 10 shows on the air or in production, as does The Real World creator Jonathan Murray? Or is it, like Jersey Shore creator SallyAnn Salsano has done, about making even the most mundane activities of Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino into breaking-news headlines? Or maybe power comes in the form of creating a giant hit like The Voice, which, under the guidance of NBC’s Paul Telegdy, went from quirky experiment (Cee Lo! Spinning chairs!) to one of the year’s most-buzzed-about pop culture phenomenons. Or, could it be turning one of the highly polarizing events in pop culture last year (i.e., Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries) into one of the guiltiest -- and most lucrative -- pleasures ever broadcast, as did E!’s Lisa Berger?

Reality power comes in all these forms and more. Among the 50 featured on the following pages are high-powered executives, prolific producers, newcomers making waves and veterans of the industry who, in keeping with their world, live and thrive by the only rule that matters: Make it real, and make it really good.

Items 1-10
  1. 1 Ryan Seacrest

    President and founder, Ryan Seacrest Productionsread more

  2. 2 Paul Telegdy

    President of alternative and late-night programming, NBC Entertainmentread more

  3. 3 Mike Darnell

    President of alternative programming, Fox Broadcasting Corp.read more

  4. 4 Mark Burnett

    CEO, One Three Mediaread more

  5. 5 Cecile Frot-Coutaz

    CEO, FremantleMediaread more

  6. 6 John Saade

    Executive vp alternative series and late-night programming, ABC Enter...read more

  7. 7 Jennifer Bresnan

    Executive vp alternative programming, CBSread more

  8. 8 Simon Cowell

    Founder and owner, Sycoread more

  9. 9 David Goldberg

    Chairman, Endemol North Americaread more

  10. 10 Paul Buccieri

    President and CEO, ITV Studios; managing director, ITV Studios Intern...read more