Creating and Developing a Successful Reality Show by Finding the Right Talent

Hosted by Jim Milio


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Jim Milio

Webinar hosted by: Jim Milio

Emmy Nominated Reality Show Producer (RESCUE911, THE DOG WHISPERER)

Jim Milio is an Emmy nominated producer, director and writer of reality television with more than 30 years in the business. His credits include RESCUE 911 which ran for 7 seasons on CBS and starred William Shatner, DOG WHISPERER starring Cesar Millan, which ran for 9 seasons on National Geographic, TRUE DETECTIVES for CBS, DISCOVERY CHANNEL ECO-CHALLENGE for Discovery, ROSWELL: STARTLING NEW EVIDENCE for SyFy, and TAKEDOWN for TruTV, among many others. Milio is currently writing, directing and producing the new reality series OPERATION HIDDEN TREASURES that will air on Discovery later this year. Jim is also an author whose latest book Jim's Hollywood Finty Stones, describes how you can break into the industry, illuminated by true tales of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart, Will Ferrell, Nia Vardalos, Liza Minelli, Robert DeNiro and dozens more. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Reality television is more popular than ever as more networks and streamers are greenlighting more reality than any time in history. New shows like Netflix’s INDIAN MATCHMAKING and SELLING SUNSET are finding huge audiences while classics like MILLION DOLLAR LISTING and DEALIEST CATCH continue to find success and spinoffs years later. But it is hard – perhaps harder than ever - to lock in the right on-camera talent sell a new reality concept. The early steps of creating a reality TV concept and finding and locking in the right talent are critical – not just for selling a project but making sure it will work once you get a green light. Yet if you’re able to find the right talent, the right concept, and the right vehicle for your unscripted series, you may have just found a hit that will not only make it to series on a streamer or network, but thrive in today’s landscape for years to come.

Creating the perfect new reality show often comes down to finding the right on-screen talent that will pop on camera and find an emotional connection with the millions watching at home. Yet it takes a delicate balance and lot of boxes that need to be checked in order to find this. It can also come down to how the directors and producers work with and treat the talent to ensure they come across well on screen. There are countless mistakes newcomers make when putting together their show, onboarding their talent, conducting interviews, and more, but avoiding the biggest mistakes and going in with a clear plan can make your show come to life and find success.

Jim Milio is an Emmy nominated producer, director and writer of reality television with more than 30 years in the business. His credits include RESCUE 911 which ran for 7 seasons on CBS and starred William Shatner, DOG WHISPERER starring Cesar Millan, which ran for 9 seasons on National Geographic, TRUE DETECTIVES for CBS, DISCOVERY CHANNEL ECO-CHALLENGE for Discovery, ROSWELL: STARTLING NEW EVIDENCE for SyFy, and TAKEDOWN for TruTV, among many others. Milio is currently writing, directing and producing the new reality series OPERATION HIDDEN TREASURES that will air on Discovery later this year. Jim is also an author whose latest book Jim's Hollywood Finty Stones, describes how you can break into the industry, illuminated by true tales of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart, Will Ferrell, Nia Vardalos, Liza Minelli, Robert DeNiro and dozens more.

No one knows better than Jim how to find ordinary people and make a hit show with them, and he’s ready to share his secrets with you.

Over an in-depth 90-minute presentation, Jim will break down how you can create and develop a successful reality show by finding and working with the right on-screen talent. To do so, Jim will explain the reality show landscape today to give you a sense of where you can fit in, before diving deep into how you’re able to find and lock in the right talent for your show. He’ll discuss critical aspects like getting rights, interviewing people the right way and what it looks like to build a series around an existing company or business. He’ll even give you tools on how to protect yourself and your talent along the way, so when a network or streamer says yes, you can be sure you’re not fired off your own project.


If you have a great idea for a reality show or want to get into this lucrative business, it’s imperative you hear from an expert like Jim first.

What You'll Learn

  • How to Find and Develop a Reality Concept
    • Where to look for an effective reality show concept
    • Are you basing a show from an existing talent or a current business?
    • Are you creating a new competition or want to make a show from a competition that already exists?
  • What Are the Most Popular (or Most Difficult) Reality Genres to Develop?
    • Docu-soaps
    • Occu-soaps
    • Soft-Scripted
    • Docu follow & Ride-a-longs
    • Other categories to consider
  • How to Find and Lock in Potential Talent for a Reality Series
    • Where do you find talent?
    • How to know if they can work on TV
    • Getting needed rights
  • Working with People Who Have Never Appeared on Camera Before
    • Doing background checks and dealing with what you find out
    • Getting talent comfortable on camera
    • Making sure you have your on-camera talent under control
  • The Keys to Getting Strong Interviews
    • When, where and how
    • Creating a bond between interviewer and interviewee
  • Dealing with Options, Project Ownership and Chain of Title Issues
    • What items need to be in an option agreement
    • How much should you pay for an option?
    • Option renewals
    • Partnering with producers or production companies
  • Working with an Existing Company or Brand to Create a Reality Concept
    • How can you build a series around an existing company or business?
    • Dealing with separation of rights
  • Protecting Yourself and Your Talent after a Network or Streamer Says “Yes”
    • Can you stay together as a team or will the buyer try to separate you?
    • How to not to get fired off your own project
  • Q&A with Jim

About Your Instructor

Jim Milio is an Emmy nominated producer, director and writer of reality television with more than 30 years in the business. His credits include RESCUE 911 which ran for 7 seasons on CBS and starred William Shatner, DOG WHISPERER starring Cesar Millan, which ran for 9 seasons on National Geographic, TRUE DETECTIVES for CBS, DISCOVERY CHANNEL ECO-CHALLENGE for Discovery, ROSWELL: STARTLING NEW EVIDENCE for SyFy, and TAKEDOWN for TruTV, among many others. Milio is currently writing, directing and producing the new reality series OPERATION HIDDEN TREASURES that will air on Discovery later this year. Jim is also an author whose latest book Jim's Hollywood Finty Stones, describes how you can break into the industry, illuminated by true tales of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart, Will Ferrell, Nia Vardalos, Liza Minelli, Robert DeNiro and dozens more.


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