Reality Rocks Expo
It was a true marriage of branding, Hollywood and family. Note that the families involved are a bit dysfunctional, but that makes the best TV.
There were also the moguls. Dressed casually in a shirt, jeans and tennies, entrepreneur Mark Cuban (HdNet and the Dallas Mavericks) listens to pitches for his hit TV show Shark Tank.
Joining him onstage at the inaugural Reality Rocks Expo is TV show judge Daymond John (FUBU) at the Convention Center.
Just like his tough love on the highly rated series, Cuban responds to an audience pitch. “Do you know how to use the telephone or e-mail? When did you make your first sale? A year and a half later, you’re still talking about your product with no progress? Would you want to invest in a guy who won’t make a stupid phone call?”
Even if Cuban was nixing the deal, he was willing to mentor. “Go to your retailer and ask who they buy their stuff from wholesale. Tell them they are selling a lot of my product and you want to get the wholesalers’ interest. You may have a potential customer who may look to fund your inventory. You just got to work it! Just making the call is more valuable than any money you want to bring in.”
Although expo audience turnout was dim, the reality stars came out in full force. Cuban’s business advice rocked the entire convention center complex. Where else could anyone receive encouragement from one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet?
KTLA’s (and cable host) Sam Rubin moderated. This man knows his stuff. If he was pitching, Cuban would hire him.
On the lighter side, camera people, videographers and bloggers followed a Kardashian around the expo. You’d think it was Kim, Khloe, Kourtney or their beautiful teen sisters. Photographers could not get enough of Kris Kardashian Jenner, brainchild of the family’s TV and marketing success — and also a beauty. Accompanying her was her husband of 20 years, Olympian Bruce Jenner. Both participated on a panel saluting Bunim/Murray Productions. (Jonathan Murray started this reality craze with Real World.)
Reminiscent of The Price is Right auditions, wannabes sit in the halls in chicken outfits just to get noticed by casting agents.
The breakout show: MTV’s Son of a Gun, a docu-series produced/ conceived (he also stars) by Nick Cannon, with young rapper Corey Gunz. It was a savvy business move to show the pilot to media and fans, since it premieres April 28. Cannon takes time out from 11th hour baby watch as he and his wife, Mariah Carey, await the birth of their twins. Atlanta Housewife Sheree Whitfield and Worked Up’s Jackie Pucci sit in.
On the main floor: Audrina Patridge hawks her handbags before screening her new show, Audrina. Several American Idol finalists perform. Bachelor/Bachelorette, Amazing Race, Celebrity Rehab and other personalities hold down the fort at autograph booths. Folks from collectors’ shows, courtroom judge shows, food chef shows and couples who met on reality shows man booths. Controversial Karina Smirnoff’s (Dancing with the Stars) booth was empty, as she was rehearsing with current DWTS partner, Ralph Macchio.
In the house: family members Eric Roberts/step-son Keaton Simons, Alexis/Jim Bellino, Christopher Knight/Adrianne Curry, Kynt/Vyxsin, Steve/Josie Stevens, and Billy Duffy/AJ Celi.
Like it or not, reality TV is here to stay.
Sue Facter is a writer and owner of a news agency that specializes in all things A-list and publishes globally. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.