Reality Boulevard

Reality Boulevard by Melissa Jo Peltier, published by Apostrophe BooksKirkus Top 100 Indie Books of 2013: Reality Boulevard by Melissa Jo Peltier



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New York Times bestseller Melissa Jo Peltier turns her attention to the brilliant, back-stabbing world of prime-time television in this wickedly funny new novel.

Peltier has worked in entertainment for more than 20 years, making the darkly funny Reality Boulevard a true insider’s view of Hollywood and some of America’s biggest shows.

In it, we see Oscar-winning producer Marty Maltzman and his staff out of a job – and out on the streets – when long-running docu-series Lights and Sirens is unexpectedly axed. But the Hollywood the team now faces is full of Kardashians and Real Housewives, and they need to survive in a world where it’s very hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t – both on and off screen.

Oscar and Emmy winning documentarian and veteran reality producer (Big Brother, Rescue 911) Arnold Shapiro called the novel “the best satirical look behind the scenes of reality television ever written”, adding: “It contains more truth than you would believe.”

Todd Milliner, producer of Grimm and Hot in Cleveland, said: “During her 20-plus years in the business, Melissa Jo Peltier had a front-row seat, watching it all unfold. In this novel, she puts her dry wit and storytelling ability to good use, pulling back the curtain to reveal what really goes on.”


Reality Boulevard has been selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of The Best Books of 2013.



Jerry sighed.  After all, it had been Jerry himself who, twenty-five years earlier, had schooled Marty on the industry distinction between a working actor and a common wanabee actor:  genus and species Opus Ludius versus the ubiquitous Vacuus Ludius.  According to Jerry and those jaded above-the-liners who subscribed to his philosophy, the second type could be found at any time of day or night: at the gym, sculpting their impossibly flawless physiques; at Starbucks, pecking out star vehicle screenplays on their laptops; at clubs and industry parties, seeking access to the plush lifestyles to which they aspired.  Some of the more industrious among them were waiting tables in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, ushering at the Arclight Hollywood or Sherman Oaks, or guiding tour busses though the Universal Studios back lot, hoping to make an impression in a more productive way. There were many, however, who always seemed to be just scraping by; living off the largess of parents, roommates, lovers, sugar daddies or mommies.  Most of them were extremely good looking, young, and famously flighty.  

“Working actors, Opus Ludii, were a different species altogether. They had real agents and managers who didn’t work out of their apartments.  They were known by at least a couple of the major casting agents in town.  Working actors had the training to prove that they viewed their careers as art and craft rather than as fame vehicle.  They spent more of their free time in classes and workshops than in gyms and plastic surgeon’s offices, haunted the new play section at the Samuel French bookshop, and earned at least enough income from acting in a given year to qualify for the Screen Actor’s Guild health insurance program.  Some of them even had homes, families, and relatively normal lives outside of work.



When I began reading the novel, I knew it would be good. After all, Melissa is the co-author of seven non-fiction books, five of which made the New York Times Bestseller list … Her characterizations and descriptions, in particular, are original and visceral, and the book is simply a fun and engaging read.” - Reel Life with Jane



Once I started reading Reality Boulevard, I could not stop. It is that compelling, that entertaining, and that amazing and amusing — filled with unexpected plot twists and characters more colorful than the clearest rainbow. This is the best satirical look behind-the-scenes of “reality television” ever written. Despite being satiric fiction, it contains more truth than you would believe. You will forever watch your favorite reality shows with new “insider” knowledge and awareness.- Arnold Shapiro: Academy Award & 16-time Emmy Award-winner / Producer of film, TV documentaries and reality series (Big Brother, Rescue 911, Scared Straight and more)

Melissa Jo Peltier has spent over 20 years in the trenches of documentary, non-fiction and reality TV and there’s practically nothing she hasn’t seen or done. She lived it so you can laugh about it in this novel.- Sean Hayes: Actor/ Producer

Reality TV has cannibalized the airwaves, and during her 20 plus years in the business, Melissa Jo Peltier had a front row seat, watching it all unfold. In this novel, she puts her dry wit and storytelling ability to good use, pulling back the curtain to reveal what really goes on.- Todd Milliner: Executive Producer, Grimm, Hot in Cleveland

“I’ve worked with Melissa for almost 20 years on many programs on several networks. She’s the real deal. As a network executive, I can safely say that Melissa knows the territory, and most important of all, has captivating insights that are worth sharing with a wide audience.” – Michael Cascio: SVP, National Geographic Channel (Formerly SVP A&E, Animal Planet)

Emmy award winner, New York Times bestselling author, and executive producer of the long-running phenomenon Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, Melissa Jo Peltier started out in television at the tender age of 20 and has had an unprecedented insider’s view of reality TV’s strange evolution. If there’s anyone out there qualified to fictionalize what really goes on behind the scenes, it’s Melissa.” – Cori Wellins: Partner, William Morris Endeavor



  • Interview on The Best People We Know Show, which was featured as their #1 podcast in Entertainment:
    There are so many truths in this fictional story that make it extremely powerful … Melissa is brutally honest here, and this is not so far from fiction



Writer Melissa Jo Peltier reads an excerpt from Reality Boulevard:

Here, Peltier takes us on a tour of the locations in Reality Boulevard:



Latest review on Goodreads:
You won’t be able to put this entertaining book down! You will fall in love with the characters–laugh, cry, agonize and smile with them. You’ll get a glimpse of what it’s really like in the so-called “Reality Television” world. It’s a “real” eye-opener. I loved the journey!” 5★
Tongue planted firmly and deceptively in cheek, Melissa delivers to the reader a Hollywood that only a Hollywood insider – one who survived to escape and tell about it – could deliver. Forget reality TV. What goes on behind the scenes is faster, flightier, fancier, funnier and more frivolous than anything you can imagine. Although tagged ‘fiction’, I have two strong feelings about Reality Boulevard: 1) the goings on revealed in the pages of Reality Boulevard are the realities of Hollywood Boulevard; 2) at least parts of this smart work are thinly veiled memoirs from Ms. Peltier’s successful years as an award winning Hollywood writer, producer and director. A very enjoyable read.” 5★
Latest reviews on Amazon:

If you love reality TV, hate reality TV, or don’t give much thought to this popular genre, you will love “Reality Blvd.” With humor, satire, and memorable characters, it takes you deep into the present and the future of unscripted television. If you think some of today’s reality shows and characters are outrageous, wait until you meet the ones in this book. I intended to read only the first chapter and could not stop reading until I was forced to go to sleep 12 hours later. This book is engaging, amazing, amusing, and unforgettable. After reading it, you will watch your next reality episode as an insider!” 5★

Written by an author who clearly knows her subject matter inside and out, Melissa Peltier has created memorable characters you will love and love-to-hate, all thrown together while they make their way in a business that’s just slightly more crazy than they are. But beware! Reality Boulevard reads like a runaway train, so find yourself a free weekend, download this book, and dive right in. You won’t be sorry. If you love Carl Hiaasen, you will love Melissa Peltier.” 5★

Funny and insightful and definitely from someone who knows this terrain. Great characters and elegantly written. A talent to watch!!” 5★

I downloaded this the first day it came out; well, I must say when I starting reading, I literally could not put it down. It’s been a long time I laughed out loud when I read a book and the satire in this is incredibly funny– because it’s true. The author has an award-winning background in reality TV, so she knows whereof she speaks, and it’s a lot of fun guessing who the characters might be based on (though I suspect there are a lot of them out there who are a match for the more ego-driven characters). Her insider’s view adds extra weight and credence to her observations about how reality TV can warp personalities and encourage the bad behavior so many of us love to hate. But this is not a moralizing book; it has compassion for its characters, while at the same time observing the costs of fame, especially when conferred on people who have nothing to offer but outrageous personalities. That said it is just…fun! Now I am just waiting for a sequel because I wanted to find out what happens to some of the characters, both good and bad, whom I had grown fond of by the end.” 5★

This is a touching and often hilarious novel set in the world of reality TV production — where Peltier worked for over 20 years. The lead character encounters conflicts that a huge number of ambitious young women (and men) will identify with, between love and work, between selling out and staying pure (whatever that means). It’s a quick, fun read, but also one you can come back to again and again.” 5★

You will not be able to put this book down. Melissa Peltier, professional author and producer, has the personal experience to tell her tale of what it’s really like in the “reality television world.” She pulls together all her creative talent in this entertaining novel. You will fall in love with the characters. You will laugh and cry and agonize with them in this unique plot centered around the reality television industry. Wild and crazy and fun!” 5★

So limited – all this book gives you is:

- Brilliantly constructed characters.

- A highly engaging, skillfully written plot.

- A page-turning experience written from an inside-view perspective.

- An unforgettable read.

This is the kind of book that just rides around in your head even after you have finished it. The characters are SO real – and I love how Ms. Peltier skillfully weaves this story, taking us through the development, discoveries, and adventures of the protagonist. ANYONE can relate to this book. Brilliant!

If any of this appeals to you, read this book. If it doesn’t, forget it. I suggest finding a stereo instructions booklet from the ’70s. EBay must have some.

Great book. Can’t wait to see what this author will do next!” 5★

I love, love, love this book!

It’s sharp, slyly funny, and pretty much impossible to put down. Melissa Jo Peltier is hilarious and a master at creating relatable characters, whether you love them, hate them, or want to bitch slap them (my choice for the character of Crimson Fennel, who is a very funny caricature of a former high school beauty queen gone off the rails). If you’ve ever wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes in reality television, this is your book. Even if you don’t care one way or another for reality television, this book isn’t just a good read — it’s a great read.” 5★





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A TEEN’S VIEWPOINT by Lauren Marie Galley:

I met Melissa on Twitter. Being an actress I often follow others in the film industry and I immediately took an interest and began reading her bio and IMDB. Her work was impressive, not because she is a woman but because she is smart.

“Melissa introduced me to her book Reality Boulevard as it pertains to my mentorship (through my organization Girls Above Society) with teen girls facing the tough pressures of today’s media driven society.

“I really wanted to hear more about the inside workings of our crazy media driven society.  

“I dove in and began reading what was an incredible viewpoint of reality TV.

“After reading Reality Boulevard I have come to realize how mechanical reality TV really is. A large percentage of my friends don’t realize reality TV is scripted. Glitzy marketing and juicy trailers give the appearance of real people doing crazy things. I find it interesting they call it reality TV when it’s not reality or real at all.

“The reality is an editor can take your footage and totally change who you are, your values, and your words in the push of a few buttons. The marketing is obviously geared toward the Millennial generation, a generation that never experienced great drama television, acting at its best, which is great because now it’s easy to hook you in to another world.  Our generation loves drama, especially as it unfolds right before our eyes. Real people, or should I say not actors with a major name or credits behind them, crazy situations, drama and lots of it equals entertainment at its best. It’s perfect, mindless entertainment I can watch while studying for my exams and it gives conversation over lunch tomorrow as we see the tabloids spewing it in our face!

“Melissa gives us a true reality check. I’m not going to lie, yes I watch some reality TV. I understand what it is, how it works, and I’m not swayed by it to become a famous reality TV star, quit school, or behave like any of the stars portray themselves. BUT…… this is where it gets tricky…… many my age see reality TV as a way to get rich and famous. They make it look so easy. Why not? Even if they don’t ever have the opportunity to get close to a TV film set, their ideas of drive, determination, and hard work are altered. I see so many of my generation just want the easy way out. Let’s do the bare minimum to get by. I’m worried about my generation and what we will have to offer to those that follow…… I never thought of reality TV as a fire that is spreading out of control throughout my generation.

“The statistics below are shocking:

  • 22% of Americans’ free time is devoted to reality TV.  I challenge my generation to get up, make a difference, and bring true value to their lives. Our future depends on it.
  • According to Medical Procedure News, reality television is attributing to cosmetic surgery procedures with more than 9.2 million procedures performed as result of people watching these shows.
  • According to WebMD Medical News, reality television is contributing to eating disorders in teen girls.  With shows like Are You Hot? The Search for America’s Sexiest People and Extreme Make Over, young women believe that to be accepted you have to be hot or a bombshell. (Kirchheimer)
  • Since the boom of reality television in 2000, eating disorders in teenage girls (ages 13-19) have nearly tripled.
  • Americans spend 1/3 of their free time watching television and of that 67% are reality shows.
  • The number of shooting days for reality TV in Los Angeles rose 53% last year, making up about 40% of all on-location production.
  • Of the 240,000 entertainment jobs in Los Angeles, 30,000 are tied to reality television.
  • Reality TV episodes have increased to 57% of all television shows that can be found on your screens.
  • There are more than five violent scenes in an hour of prime time, and five murders a night.

Thank you Melissa for being the amazing woman and role model you are, and for putting a synopsis of my generation on paper.


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