Jan 18, 2006

Crazy homicidal? Or crazy fun?

The art and science of picking contestants for reality TV shows.
The responsibility for determining how candidates will react and whether they are “homicidal crazy or just fun crazy” rests with psychologists. For Survivor: Pearl Islands, Roberts was interviewed by two psychologists: Dr. Richard Levak and Dr. Liza Siegel. The same two doctors also interviewed Omarosa and Solovey for The Apprentice. Omarosa credits Levak with lobbying the producers to get her on the show. “From what I understand, he said to them that I had one of the most unique psychological profiles he’d ever seen.” According to what Omarosa says Levak told her privately, this profile was an unusual combination of high intelligence and high social skills and a balanced mix of feminine and masculine qualities, elegance and poise countered by a ruthless, competitive drive. Solovey was also fascinated by his personality assessment. “Levak nailed me right on the dot. I remember him saying that I am the kind of person who will go all the way to the edge, and I have to be careful that I don’t go over the edge.” Solovey acknowledges that while this tendency to go to extremes got him selected for the show, it’s also why he lost. And in the end, he believes it may be why the reality TV experience was so tough on him.

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