Reality TV Convention to Become 'Reality' in 2011

Fans who've wondered what would happen if the cast of Jersey Shore was locked in a room with The Real Housewives of Orange County and the designers from Project Runway might soon find out, as e5 Global Media, parent company of The Hollywood Reporter, has announced plans to host the largest-ever reality TV fan convention next year in Los Angeles.

Called the Reality Rocks Expo, the convention is conceived of as "a sort of Comic-Con for unscripted television," according to The Hollywood Reporter, which broke news of the event early this month. Taking place April 8-10, 2011, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it's set to include a show floor, live demonstrations, stage performances, celebrity panels and an online Reality TV Awards show.

"This is a unique opportunity for the networks and producers to connect with their fans on a whole new level, and maybe even find the next great show or personality," said Bailey Beeken, vice president of e5 Global Media's film and entertainment group. "Measuring the excitement and engagement of the fans during the expo gives the producers and networks real, experiential feedback as they head into the May sweeps and before many of the new season's shows kick off."

Although there have been previous efforts to launch reality TV conferences, The Hollywood Reporter calls Reality Rocks — which has an advisory committee that includes reality heavy-hitters such as Mark Burnett Productions, CMT, Oxygen Media, Sundance Channel and RDF USA, among others — the "most ambitious attempt yet to create an annual fandom convention aimed at the unscripted television genre."

"Reality Rocks is destined to become a signature event for reality TV," said David Eilenberg, head of development and current programming at Mark Burnett. "We relish the opportunity to connect with our amazing fans and give them the opportunity to connect with all the great on-camera and off-camera characters of our genre."