Troy DeVolld’s Tips for Climbing the TV Success Ladder

by  Troy DeVolld

As a newbie to television seventeen years ago, I used to come in for a 7pm to 3am night shift in the late afternoon. When a producer asked me why, I said, “Because otherwise, you’ll never know who I am.” So began three straight years of employment.

A large part of success is hitting that sweet spot between simply busting ass and staying visible. Take cues from your superiors. If your boss is brassy and bold, he or she might enjoy you meeting them at that vibration. If your boss is super chill, take note of that and adjust your approach accordingly.

There’s also a third approach, which is figuring out who you are in the menagerie and playing that part well. I’ve been the “adult in the room” guy fairly often, balanced against bigger personalities and younger hires with a load of enthusiasm, but maybe in need of reassurance.

Personally, that’s how I like to staff. Kind of a rainbow sherbet of types. I don’t just want yes men/women, and I don’t just want bulldozers, as both types are valid and work just fine.


Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy, former senior story producer of Dancing with the Stars, and all-around true master of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?