ABC's Wong: Reality TV has no rules


The key to creating successful reality series is to continually "break the rules," said Andrea Wong, executive vp alternative programming, specials and late-night at ABC Entertainment.

In fact, Wong, speaking Thursday during the Museum of Television & Radio's Industry Forum Luncheon in Beverly Hills, said there really are no rules.

"It's a wide-open frontier," she said, likening it to the "wild, wild West."

Wong said she's continually looking for fresh ideas and new directions -- or "left turns" -- saying that ABC's hit "Dancing With the Stars" is the "ultimate left turn."

"Who knew that would work?" she said.

Wong also was asked about the common practice of copying unscripted shows, including Fox launching reality shows similar to ABC's "Supernanny" and "Wife Swap."

"We develop a lot more internally now and try to be our own studio," she said. "We've been forced to keep our development confidential because of that risk."

However, she added, similar shows can survive in primetime.

For example, "I don't think 'The Bachelor' owns that (relationship show) territory," she said. "There's plenty of room for another relationship show."

Asked what show she wishes was on ABC, Wong replied: "The steamroller of (Fox's) 'American Idol.' I want to kill myself every time it's on," she joked.

The next speaker at the museum's series will be Ted Harbert, president and CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group, during an evening event Feb. 21.