DGA Announces New Reality Television Award

DGA 58th Annual 2005 Awards

October 13, 2005

Los Angeles, CA (October 13, 2005) – The Directors Guild of America today announced the inauguration of its DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs.  The Award, given to a DGA director of a reality program produced under a DGA Agreement, will be bestowed for the first time at the 58th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on January 28, 2006.

“Over the past several years, reality television has radically transformed the television landscape and now comprises a substantial portion of the prime-time schedule,” said DGA President Michael Apted.  “It is time to publicly acknowledge the director’s role in reality television and to recognize, with a DGA Award, the outstanding directorial achievements of DGA members who work in this genre.”

Two years ago the DGA initiated an intense campaign to organize reality programs so that members could take advantage of the economic protections such as minimum salaries, residuals, and pension and health benefits that Guild agreements provide.  The organizing campaign, guided by the Reality Television Committee appointed by DGA President Michael Apted, is beginning to see some success.  Since September 2003, DGA Reality Television Agreements have provided employment to members on over ninety (90) programs and have been well received by many production companies.

“Since LMNO Productions became signatory to the Guild in 1992, the demands from the networks have changed countless times.  We have found that the DGA has always been extremely flexible and open to finding ways to work together,” stated Ed Horwitz, Senior Vice President of Production.  “Because of this, I am able to utilize talented DGA directors on all my network reality shows.”

“The Guild understands that each reality show has its own particularities and is prepared to tailor its agreements to address the specific needs of each production.  I think that’s why they’ve made substantial inroads in their organizing efforts,” said Andrew Jebb, Vice President of Production at Nash Entertainment.  “And working with DGA members makes for a better experience all around.”

“Ours has been a grassroots, show-by-show approach to the issue,” said Apted. “Although organizing reality television is not easy and we have our work cut out for us, we’ve seen some real progress. Since the start of our organizing campaign, we’ve signed over 90 shows.”

“All DGA members benefit from the Reality Agreement because they have access to jobs being created in the reality genre and, as a result, can be assured of economic protections, such as health and pension benefits, that DGA contracts offer,” said DGA director J. Rupert Thompson (Fear Factor).

For purposes of the DGA Award, a Reality Program is defined as a nonfiction series or special.  Shows featuring dramatic or variety performance are excluded, but are included in other award categories. Only programs made under a DGA Agreement that originally aired during the calendar year 2005 are eligible.  Shows exhibited theatrically prior to television exhibition are not eligible.

All eligible Reality Programs entries will be viewed by a Director Member Nominating Committee, which votes by secret ballot. The five entries that receive the highest number of votes will be announced as the 2005 DGA Reality Programs Nominees. These five nominated programs will then be viewed by Director Member Blue Ribbon Panels that will, by secret ballot, select the winner of the 2005 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs.

Lily Bedrossian -
Director of Media Relations
(310) 289-5334