Reality Show Producer Mike Fleiss Explains Why He Doesn’t Watch Reality Shows

TV producer Mike Fleiss loves a good plot twist. He may be known for crafting some of the most successful reality shows on the planet, from dating escapades to high school reunions. However, he recently made the shocking revelation that he doesn’t actually watch the genre in which he excels. “I’ve never seen any reality shows,” Mike Fleiss confesses. “Other than the ones that I’ve made, I’ve never seen any.”

And he has a fascinating reason why. “I never found it interesting,” he admits. “I’ve never seen Survivor. I remember watching a couple episodes of the first season of Survivor with my kids, my older kids, when they were little. I probably watched two hours of Survivor 20 years ago, and that was it.”

Despite the explosive popularity of other reality shows and the fact that ​​68% of Americans watch some type of reality TV, according to, Fleiss just never got into it, and the Hollywood executive intends to keep it that way. 

“I’ve never seen Big Brother, I’ve never seen Dancing With the Stars, I’ve never seen Kardashians,” Fleiss adds. “I’ve never seen Real Housewives — I’ve never seen any of it.”

As a TV content creator, Mike Fleiss says avoiding such shows can lead to a fresher mind when it comes to generating fresh material.

“I think it helps you to not be so concerned about what other people are doing and just try to do your thing,” he reveals. “I think that’s the best way. You hear football coaches, basketball coaches say that all the time, and it’s true.”

And Fleiss has definitely seen his fair share of commentary from coaches over the years — his background is in newspaper sports writing. 

“I was a sports writer,” he notes. “I went to [the University of California,] Berkeley and I was the executive editor of The Daily Californian, which is the paper in Berkeley.”

He covered multiple sporting events, but his most unforgettable assignment was the Earthquake World Series. “I was in the press box for that,” Mike Fleiss says of the third game of the 1989 World Series, during which an earthquake shook California’s Central Coast.

Something Fishy

Although Fleiss says he avoids more traditional drama-fueled reality shows, there is one show he says he’s hooked on: the sport fishing series Wicked Tuna.

Wicked Tuna is a thrill ride that plunges into the high-stakes and fiercely competitive world of bluefin tuna fishing off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The program, which first aired on the National Geographic channel, masterfully blends the raw drama of the ocean with the personal stories and rivalries of the fishermen who brave these waters. While it offers a riveting look into the world of commercial tuna fishing, it also provides insights into the lives and struggles of those who depend on the deep blue sea for their livelihood.

“I’ll have to say this is my guilty pleasure. Wicked Tuna, that’s the only one I like,” Mike Fleiss insists. “I fish a lot. I’ll put that on in the background just to watch those guys catch fish when I’m not on my boat.”

The avid angler has been known to catch some impressive fish over the years himself, including a 280-pound tuna. He also cites sport fishing as one of his top hobbies.

“I surf and fish,” Mike Fleiss says.

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