Jill Tallman

If reality TV called, would you answer?

March 18, 2010 by Jill W. Tallman, Associate Editor

Jake the pilot bachelor

Even if you don’t watch “The Bachelor” (and I don’t know anybody who admits to watching “The Bachelor” ) you may have heard that last season’s contestant was a pilot. A commercial pilot named Jake. He’s since joined the latest group of contestants on “Dancing with the Stars” (along with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was profiled in the April issue of Flight Training).

Now we hear that pilot shows are being shopped. Reportedly there’s a show about an Alaskan female bush pilot in development, although I couldn’t find any more details. More recently, however, a rep for a company called Lion TV posted this invite on the Pilots of America message board. Lion TV’s credits include “Cash Cab” and “History Detectives.” So is this a good idea? Bad idea? Horrifically bad idea? None of the above? Given reality TV’s spotty record for crafting what it thinks makes for compelling TV, I know what my answer would be–but what do you think?

TV Show Seeks Aerobatic Pilots & Freight Dogs


Emmy Award Winning Production Company Seeks Aerobatic Pilots, Race Pilots and Freight Dogs!

We’re looking for dedicated, passionate pilots with big personalities to star in an upcoming documentary TV series about the professional life and times of aviators: we’re particularly interested in hearing from aerobatic competitors, race pilots, and cargo pilots. Interested applicants: tell us a little about yourself and your work, and include any photos or links to relevant videos/websites.

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5 Responses to “If reality TV called, would you answer?”

  1. Rich Says:

    It’s probably ok to be a little suspicious, but it would be better for AOPA to engage the production company than just sit back, wait for a terrible show and blog about what a shame that show was.

    A good show or two would be a powerful way to reach people who might be interested in learning to fly. Since I read about the need to do more recruiting in nearly every issue of Pilot, this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. Worst that can happen is that a couple years from now you can make a credible claim to have at least tried.

  2. David Says:

    I agree with Rich. If AOPA takes the first step to engage the production company and is firm about what the aviation community stands for it could be a very positive outreach.

    They will make this TV show anyway. The only choice we have is to either sit back and let the production company decide, or we can be proactive and control the tone of the conversation. It is like any other PR blitz, disengagement is fatal, setting the tone and controling the message is the only realistic response.

    Second, think of how many movies or TV shows you saw growing up that influenced you in becoming a pilot. I wonder how many people looked into flight lessons after seeing “Top Gun”

    Also, most reality TV shows want an engageing story. I am sure we have enough members such as Jessica Cox that show the human side of flying. Coast guard, life flight, Alaskan Bush supply flights all would make for good human stories showing people that depend on general aviation. We have to control the message because it is our image.

  3. Pat Says:

    If ‘Sky King’ and ‘Whirlybirds” hadn’t been on the tube in the 60′s I wouldn’t have even thought about aviation till much later in life. During that time period alot of different distractions compete for a young persons attention. Thats when the seeds of the future need to be planted.
    There isn’t a media resource around, that the aviation community shouldn’t consider using to its benefit to plant the seeds of passion for aviation with young people…and old. Financially successful folks that want to pursue a passion for aviation is a great boost-but I don’t think we can sustain the growth we need on that limited resoursce. I’m convinced that if General Aviation is to sustain its aspirations for continued growth the seeds need to be planted at a young age, and from every angle we can think of. Don’t write off reality shows too quickly, just because of their track record. Just about ever worthwhile endeavor stumbles a bit before a success if recognized. Maybe, “Living the Cargo Pilot Lifestyle” could be that success.

  4. Pat Says:

    …..and by the way, I liked “The Bachelor”.

  5. LCD TV Stands Says:

    Personally I am just sick of reality TV now, there are more reality shows than there is reality in the modern world. Why has the world been reduced to watching TV about ordinary people doing ordinary stuff, I thought TV programmes were primarily design to entertain viewers so what happened plots, dialogue and acting which has been created to entertain. Surely this is better than morons been thrown into random situations and filmed, surely…………

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