May 27, 2004 -- MARK Burnett, who created "Survivor" and "The Ap prentice," admits that much of the stuff on reality TV is manipulated.
"We create situations," Burnett told The Hollywood Reporter yesterday in an unusually candid interview.
But, he said, the manipulation is intended to bring out genuine emotions from the players — and that's what his shows are really about.
"This is clearly contrived situations . . .," he says. "Were I to wait for 16 people to happen to be shipwrecked, I'd be waiting a long time to do a show."
So what if the situations in reality TV are not real, he explained. The emotions are.
"It's so real," he says. "It's dealing with those raw, connected emotional hooks."
The shock of being voted off the island or being fired, he said, are like "death and rebirth." And it's that drama that keep viewers coming back week after week.
Burnett also reveals that he bases his reality shows on the theories of Joseph Campbell, the mythology scholar who wrote "The Power of Myth" and "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." Those books served also as director George Lucas' inspirations for the "Star Wars" movies.
"I'm a huge fan of Joseph Campbell," he tells the magazine.
"Both 'The Apprentice' and 'Survivor' have something in common, which is dealing with the emotional pull that all humans feel from being excluded from something," he says. "It's something that's akin to not being invited to the party, like being the last person chosen in [the] schoolyard for a sports team."
— Post TV Staff