Bravo's 'Start-Ups: Silicon Valley' Reality Show: Work and Play Promised

'Start-Ups: Silicon Valley' aims to depict the reality of being an entrepreneur.

October 10, 2012, 1:14 PM

Oct. 10, 2012 — -- It's not just the lives of "Real Housewives" and "Gallery Girls" that Bravo is interested in telling the world about. On Nov. 5 "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley," a series that follows the lives of six entrepreneurs, premieres on the channel.

"We were looking for a place that hadn't been saturated with a bunch of reality," Evan Prager, one of the executive producers, told ABC News in a phone interview. "When we came up with it, it was amazing that no one had gone into that area."

But the show wasn't supposed to be just Hollywood's chance to tell viewers about what life is like in The Valley. Bravo found someone with deep technology roots to help with the show. Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg's sister, joined Prager and others as executive producer of the series.

A short ad for the show released this Monday, which can be seen here, showed a cast of six entrepreneurs who are trying to make it in the start-up capital of the world. Some scenes show typical start-up images: people hard at work on their MacBook Pros, meeting in conference rooms and debating as they scribble on large white boards.

But other scenes show the cast members in typical reality show settings -- partying in togas, dancing at clubs, sitting in a Jacuzzi discussing how there "are people that work in tech that aren't nerdy tech people."

It becomes clear in the two-minute video that this is a Bravo reality show through and through, not a documentary on the struggles of becoming a successful tech entrepreneur. And since the promo first aired, the tech community has made its concerns loudly known.

"Oh God, Bravo's Silicon Valley Looks Even Worse Than We Thought. Ugh Why Help," a headline on Gizmodo read on Monday. "This show looks awful, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't going to watch 'Start-Ups,'" Gizmodo's Leslie Horn wrote.

Others like CNN Money came up with a drinking game: take a sip when "someone referes to programmers as 'rock stars.'" VentureBeat posted an article today titled "Hey, Bravo, this is what Silicon Valley really looks like," in which the author noted the lack of the diversity in the cast.

But Prager defends the show, saying no reality show is ever a true reflection of an entire event or place.

"We're shooting a show with six people. It will be a true reflection from those people," he said. "They are living there and living the dream. We can't reflect the everybody."

There are no details given in the preview about what projects the characters are working on or what companies they have built. Prager said they were selected through a regular casting process. "We saw a lot of people and we were looking for personalities," he said.

Thanks to TechCrunch we know that two of the characters, Ben and Hermione Way (siblings, not spouses), work on a startup called Ignite Wellness, a health tracking system.

Prager, speaking from Los Angeles at the time of the interview, said Randi Zuckerberg has been key in keeping the balance between work and play realistic in the production.

"She was involved with the production throughout, she is on the ground up there. She was good to have making sure the right balance between work and play was reflected. It is really important to people up there."

But ultimately Prager reminds the tech community that this isn't a documentary. "We have characters that are doing start-ups, but they also have great personalities and things going on in their lives, it is a reality show too," he said. "Hopefully everyone would agree we have done a good job of finding the balance."

To determine that, of course, we will need to see more than a two-minute clip. "Start-ups: Silicon Valley" premieres on Bravo at 10:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 5.

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