Self-Producing vs. Investing in a Sizzle Reel for Reality Shows: Pros and Cons

Reality shows have become a staple of modern television, and producing one involves a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. One of the most significant decisions a producer must make is whether to self-produce the show or invest in a sizzle reel to pitch to networks. Each approach has its own set of pros and cons, and in this blog post, we’ll explore them in more detail.


One advantage of self-producing a reality show is that you have complete creative control over the content, format, and overall vision of the show. This can be an advantage if you have a clear idea of what you want the show to be and want to maintain creative control throughout the production process. Self-producing also allows you to keep costs low by avoiding the fees and expenses associated with pitching to networks or hiring a production company to create a sizzle reel.

However, self-producing has some drawbacks as well. Without a network or production company to help promote your show, it can be challenging to get it in front of a large audience. This can limit the show’s overall success and profitability. Additionally, self-producing a reality show requires a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources. Without a production company or network to provide resources and support, it can be difficult to produce a show that meets industry standards. Finally, networks may be hesitant to pick up a self-produced show because they may question the quality and legitimacy of the production.

Investing in a Sizzle Reel:

An alternative to self-producing is to invest in a sizzle reel, which is a short promotional video that showcases the potential of the show. A well-produced sizzle reel can help attract network interest, showcase the show’s potential, and increase exposure to a wider audience. Working with a production company to create a sizzle reel can also lend credibility to your show and increase its chances of being taken seriously by network executives.

However, investing in a sizzle reel can be expensive and may not lead to a network picking up the show, making it a potentially risky investment. Additionally, when working with a production company, you may have less control over the creative direction of your show, which could result in a final product that doesn’t fully align with your vision. Finally, if a network does pick up your show, you may have less potential for profit since you’ve already invested a significant amount of money in the sizzle reel.


In conclusion, the decision to self-produce or invest in a sizzle reel depends on the specific circumstances of the show and the goals of the producer. While self-producing provides creative control and lower financial risk, investing in a sizzle reel can increase exposure and lend credibility to the show. Ultimately, both approaches have the potential to lead to a successful reality show. Producers should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each approach before deciding which one is right for their show.

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