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The Queen of Unscripted TV: Kate Casey

Kate Casey is the host of “Reality Life with Kate Casey,” one of the highest-rated podcasts which is solely devoted to unscripted television. Known as the queen of unscripted tv, she interviews talent, directors, producers, and hosts of television’s most popular reality shows, docuseries, and documentaries. 

Casey’s weekly must watch list is a go-to for TV industry insiders and viewers alike.

Her show, which airs three times a week, has been regularly featured in numerous magazines like Newsweek, Time, People, US Magazine, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and the Daily Mail

  1. What is on your TV watch list for the fall season?

I am excited for the new seasons of CBS shows, including “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.” I am consistently excited by the unscripted programming at Netflix, they churn out superb documentaries and series as well as reality shows.

Showtime has a documentary about Sinead O’Connor and The Lincoln Project I am certain to talk about for days. Also, HBO has a documentary produced by Lisa Ling called “38 at the Garden,” I am waiting to see. And I love the Kardashians on Hulu– while it is glossy, it also makes me feel like I am getting access to personal stories they shared just for the audience. 

  1. What made you want to release a podcast all about reality TV?

I have always been fascinated, if not obsessed, by personal storytelling. If I meet you, I want to know everything about you. There is something romantic about knowing– well after a reality show or documentary ends… the subject’s life continues and there is almost always an update. I consider myself a cultural anthropologist. 

My podcast was a way for me to find out how being on a show, or making one, changes someone’s life. When I pitched the idea of a podcast about unscripted TV in 2016, the network executive actually asked me if enough people watch reality shows. It is astounding (but not surprising) how many podcasts there are now about them. 

It’s an easy conversation starter, a no-brainer go-to topic at a dinner party, and less people pretend watching a reality show is somehow beneath them. 

Let’s be honest, almost everyone watches reality shows!

  1. Podcasts are becoming huge. How do you think they are competing with television in terms of audience and viewership?

I consider podcasts a more intimate form of storytelling. The subject is really curated to one’s own life. You are listening in your home, in your car, at your office. Hosts feel like friends. I can’t tell you the amount of times someone tells me they listen to my voice before bed. I have been a podcaster for 6 years, I am glad media is giving our shows the respect they deserve. We have enormous influence in our spaces. 

I consider myself a television network’s partner versus competition. I am giving my audience, for example, a guide to what to watch each week. I want to promote a network’s programming. I have developed so many great relationships interviewing the executives, directors, and producers who make these extraordinary shows and series. I want to highlight their projects and in some cases their careers. 

  1. Podcasts unlike TV tend to happen in real time. You can’t tape weeks in advance or after for things that are timely. How do you select and plan for guests? What is it like scheduling your program? 

I absolutely work on the fly. I am constantly tweaking episodes to make sure they are timely and giving enough of a window for listeners to watch. I use my weekly guide as my most important resource. I am fortunate to have wonderful relationships with network communications teams who give me screeners. 

Booking is the biggest time suck. I should also note I do this on my own. All of the research, booking, marketing, etc. is something I have done alone for 6 years. 

  1. You have some upcoming live shows in NY and LA. How do you translate your podcast to the stage? Where can our audience see you?

My live show tells the story of why I have been fascinated by unscripted storytelling, which begins with my own family. (Spoiler: my step father and dad were cons.) I also discuss many of the stories behind the scenes of my show, which include among other things unraveling a connection between Menudo and the Menendez brothers. 

Live shows:

Hollywood Improv, December 3rd

City Winery NYC, November 20th