“I do a show called Ultimate Fighter, and it is the most violent show on TV. These guys fight, and you see some of the most horrific injuries,” The Ultimate Fighter executive producer Craig Piligian told The Hollywood Reporter during its Reality Roundtable.
Piligian discussed what it’s like to be that close to the brutal trauma and what it takes to be the person calling the shots. “Everybody’s got to keep their heads real calm. Get the guys in there that know what they’re doing. You’ve got to really think in logical steps [about] how you’re going to handle those kinds of situations.”
But he said he isn’t above airing the injuries. “You gotta,” said Piligian. “We’ve aired ankles that have just snapped in half.”
“I go to every fight,” Piligian told the THR. “I go to every single fight on Ultimate Fighter. It’s a serious business. It’s an absolute serious business.”
There was one instance, he shared, where getting injured on Ultimate Fighter actually resulted in saving a contestant’s life. “We have to MRI everyone who gets concussed, and one year, we had a kid who had an aneurysm. And you sit them down and say, ‘Look, kid. You’ve got a brain aneurysm. You’ve got to go get that repaired. Looks like it can be repaired. Here’s a doctor.’ ” Without the show, said Piligian, “He would have never found out. An MRI is $10,000, and kids don’t do it.”
Piligian also confessed what his favorite reality show to watch is. “I like Housewives. I mean, occasionally Housewives is fun to watch ’cause they’re a little nutty.”
Piligian joined Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance), Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank, The Voice), Julie Chen (Big Brother), Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance) and Bertram van Munster (The Amazing Race) for the roundtable, where the producers and hosts shared what it takes to create content that has lasted for over a decade in a genre that at first seemed like a fad.
The full Reality Roundtable can be seen on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter when it premieres on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on SundanceTV and HollywoodReporter.com.
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