"I always say that reality cast members are perishable like fruits and vegetables and they only have a certain shelf life. You've got to get them at the right moment."
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Jonathan Murray discusses his career in reality television. He describes his childhood growing up in Syracuse, NY, and recounts studying journalism and broadcast news in college. He talks of producing TV news in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Rochester, NY, getting into station programming, and starting to produce documentaries. He describes the first time he met Mary-Ellis Bunim and forming Bunim-Murray productions, and details the creation of MTV's The Real World -- explaining how casting, shooting, and production of over 25 seasons of the reality program come together. Murray also recalls the creation of several other Bunim-Murray productions, including The Simple Life (starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie), The Bad Girls Club, Starting Over, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. He explains how Bunim-Murray became involved with Project Runway in the show's sixth season, talks of creating Making the Band, and comments on the death of Mary-Ellis Bunim. He shares his thoughts on the current state of reality television, and discusses what he believes lies ahead for the genre. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on December 14, 2011 in Van Nuys, CA.