Juggling Reality TV and Life

Could Better Work-Life Balance Change the World?

I’m a huge fan of GMA (that’s, Good Morning America – for those of you who aren’t familiar). I like to get my top stories from a team with empathy, compassion and a sense of humor. But more than that, what engages me on GMA is the camaraderie on the set – which doesn’t even seem like a “set” in the traditional sense of television sets. It’s someone’s workplace – and – as for most of us working mortals – it’s the place where these humans spend the larger part of their waking hours.

Increasingly, GMA (and other shows like this) invite us into the behind-the-scenes working world of the producers, administrators and cameramen – as well as the show’s anchors. We see a family of co-workers, not just the stars. And we are invited into the families of the anchors in small ways that make us see them as human. We’ve seen vulnerability in Robin Roberts’ cancer fight and Amy Robach’s on-air cancer diagnosis; we’ve heard them insert stories of their children or their spouses into on-air conversations; we’ve seen weddings and births and even seen George Stephanopoulos get embarrassed.

Family values. Work-life balancing acts. Teamwork. That’s what I see. Maybe that’s a smokescreen. Surely, it’s ABC selling itself to viewers.  And it’s probably our own  21st century version of Leave it to Beaver, albeit live and without a script. But it’s NOT the ‘unreality’ of Survivor, The Bachelor or The Real Housewives. (C’mon – really – ? how many of our lives are going to be featured on the next “real” housewives series?)

Career men and women have a much more important dimension to them that is their life. We all need to appreciate that in most of our “real lives” we have other priorities and other interests.  I would like my children to be able to enjoy both a career and family without feeling like they’re cheating everyone. And with two parents working in most households these days, a 40-hour work week that is a 40 hour work week is really a social imperative.


I’m pretty sure GMA isn’t utopia. But maybe – just maybe – this kind of “reality show” is closer to what we all need as an example of work-life balance. And maybe work-life balance would leave more room for parenting and creativity and friendships . . . and joy.

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