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Cue the Sun!

Cue the Sun!

Author Emily Nussbaum
Publisher Random House
Publication Date 2024-05-28
Section New Hardcover - Nonfiction / Film
Type New
Format
ISBN 9780525508991

The rollicking saga of reality television—an ambitious cultural history of America’s most influential, most divisive artistic phenomenon, from the Pulitzer Prize winning New Yorker writer Who invented reality TV, the world’s most dangerous pop culture genre? And why can’t we look away from it? In this revelatory, deeply reported account of the rise of “dirty documentary”—from its controversial radio roots to the birth of Bravo and the emergence of a reality television President—Emily Nussbaum unearths the surprising origin story of the genre that ate the world, as told through the lively voices of the people who created it. At once gimlet-eyed and empathetic, Cue The Sun! explores the morally charged, funny and sometimes tragic consequences of the hunt for something real inside something fake. In sharp, absorbing prose, Nussbaum traces four paths of reality innovation—game shows, prank shows, soap operas, and clip shows—that united in the Survivor format, sparking a tumultuous Hollywood gold-rush. Along the way, we meet tricksters and innovators, from the icy Allen Funt to the shambolic Chuck Barris; Cops auteur John Langley, Bachelor mastermind Mike Fleiss and Jon Murray, the visionary behind The Real World—along with dozens of crew members and ordinary people whose lives became fodder for the reality revolution. We learn about the tools of the trade—like Candid Camera’s brilliant “reveal” and the notorious Frankenbite, a deceptive editor’s best friend—and the moral outrage reality shows provoked. But Cue The Sun! also celebrates what made the genre so powerful: a jolt of authentic emotion that could never have come from a script. What happened to the world’s first reality stars, the Louds—and why won’t they speak to the people who filmed them? Which serial killer won on “The Dating Game”? Through broad-ranging reporting, Nussbaum traces seven tumultuous decades, exploring the celebreality boom, reality TV as a strike-breaker, the queer roots of Bravo and the dark truth behind The Apprentice. A shrewd observer who cares about television, Nussbaum is the ideal voice for the first substantive cultural history of the genre that has, for better or worse, made America what it is today.

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