1809
7 min 21 sec

Writing About Reality TV Becomes Rite of Passion

A journalism teacher’s love of reality TV brings success from The Real World to the real world.
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What It's About

A journalism professor earns real money covering all those reality TV shows the world loves to watch.

Words of Wisdom

Andy shares an important reminder for content creators, "Keeping up the energy to produce content every day is a struggle sometimes. But the more honest you are to yourself and to your readers, the easier it is to handle the challenge. It’s okay to take a break!"

Fun Fact

Andy was once a guest on Katie Couric’s daytime TV talk show for an episode about Duck Dynasty.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1809

Back in the 90s when Andy Dehnart was in college, there were only two reality shows on network TV: Survivor and Big Brother, and two others on cable: The Real World and Road Rules. There were no websites covering these new shows. And of course, networks like Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist.


 As a college intern at Student.com, Andy would talk for hours about his love for The Real World…even though the other interns made fun of his passion. The obsession paid off, though. A year later one of those old co-workers became an editor for a web magazine and suggested Andy write about the new season of the show.

This was 1999 and Andy wrote a weekly column about The Real World Hawaii. But when a new editor came along, Andy was fired. Depressed and missing the chance to write and joke about the shows he loved, he went online but could only find bits of news and gossip scattered around the web. There just wasn’t one central place of information.

You know what happens next: Andy Dehnart created it.

He called it Reality Blurred, and it officially launched on July 9, 2000 with a grand total of three posts. Although he never marketed the site, he did submit it to Google and Yahoo and other search engines. People found it because they were looking for news about reality TV and there just wasn’t a lot of competition. Over time, the site’s popularity grew.

At this point Andy was a year out of college and writing for a couple of hours in the morning and another hour or two after work. Over time, he went from simply providing links to reality TV news to recapping episodes and giving his opinion about what was really going on with various shows, always fact-checking the information he shared and providing links to all sources.

So far it had just been a labor of love. But in 2003, he began running ads. A TV network representative reached out and asked about running an ad for a new show. Andy had no idea how to price an ad, but he needed a new computer that was going to cost him $2,000—so he gave the rep that price and they immediately said yes. Andy was shocked but cashed the check and ordered the computer.

The website is still mainly a passion project for Andy. Since 2002, he’s been teaching writing and journalism at Stetson University in Florida. But let’s be clear, this is a very profitable passion project.

On average, he earns $10,000 per month from the project’s various income streams. He’s had to fight to keep traffic coming to his site since there’s now a lot of online competition now from content farms, which produce a ton of low-quality pages. But being first—and being so consistent—has certainly helped.

Andy’s currently working on a memoir that details his side hustle journey and goes behind the scenes of reality TV.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Learn more about Andy and see if he covers your favorite reality tv show at his website, RealityBlurred.com.
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Keeping up the energy to produce content every day is a struggle sometimes. But the more honest you are to yourself and to your readers, the easier it is to handle the challenge. It’s okay to take a break!"
—Andy Dehnart #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau