Reality producer Nigel Lythgoe shared his pride about his long-running series So You Think You Can Dance during The Hollywood Reporter‘s Reality Roundtable. “I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve got a lot of American fathers now accepting the fact that their sons want to be dancers,” he said to the group, explaining how the show has been in line with progressive social norms.
He also touched upon the artistic significance of the program, saying: “I’m really proud that, at a time when the arts are being so dismissed in education, that So You Think You Can Dance has been around for 10 years.”
While he is clearly very fond of his own series’ impact, he pegged Survivor as his own favorite reality format. “I think it’s just a beautiful format that exposes people, real people.”
“I got to direct and produce the British version of Survivor,” he said of the competition series, “and Mark [Burnett], Craig [Piligian] probably as well, knows this island of Pulau Tiga very well. We were on this island, it’s a mud-volcanic island, and the trees are literally — the roots don’t go down very far. We had the worst storm I think I’ve ever seen, and the trees were just falling on the contestants. And we had to make a decision then: What are we going to do? Are we going to pull [the contestants] in or leave them there? And we decided, in the end, to leave them there, but it was done with a lot of chats with the meteorologists and the islanders who sort of knew about this.”
“I don’t think people realize, in truth, because there are so many unreality sort of reality shows and soft-scripting and everything else, how true a program like Survivor is,” stated Lythgoe. “What it puts the contestants through, [it] challenges them. And I think it’s a remarkable series.”
Lythgoe joined Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank, The Voice), Julie Chen (Big Brother), Piligian (The Ultimate Fighter), 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 seemed like a fad.
The full Reality Roundtable can be seen on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter when it premieres Sunday, Sept. 13, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on SundanceTV and HollywoodReporter.com.
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