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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.
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.
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