'500 Questions' Producer Mike Darnell Talks Casting for Reality Shows

"There's a difference between a host and a judge, and someone on a reality show."

“When you’re looking for certain things, host of a game show is very different," 500 Questions producer and reality heavyweight Mike Darnell tells The Hollywood Reporter during the Reality Roundtable. Darnell breaks down the different aspects he looks for when casting his shows, between a host, a judge and a contestant.

Says Darnell, “I put Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsey in the same bucket." He adds, "In that, they’re both really talented, and the reason people like them is because they are authentic."

Darnell argues that viewers, "will forgive a bad day, or an angry comment, if you know they’re real. If it feels they’re coming from a real place.”

More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actors and actresses, and comedy and drama showrunners will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV, with the premiere of the Reality Roundtable on Sunday, August 7. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.

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