Melissa Jo Peltier

Author of fiction and nonfiction; film and television producer/writer/director

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Is Reality TV Warping Your Kids?

April 18, 2013

Tags: Reality TV, television, Hollywood, parenting, bad behavior, Real Housewives, Kardashian, Honey Boo Boo, Omarosa, Girl Scouts

(Cross-posted from

Like millions out there, you love your Reality TV. You can’t get enough of your botoxed & siliconed Real Housewives of wherever; of your orange-toned alcoholic New Jerseyans; your lipsticked Honey BooBoo and her dysfunctionally clueless mother. What’s the harm in that? We all deserve our guilty pleasures. Personally,my trashy TV habits fall into the LMN movie category. Being a writer myself, I tend to like my over-the-top, clichéd dialogue to be performed by real actors and scripted by professional writers who get credit and pay for their services. But I digress.

Making A Real Person Into A Fictional Character

February 20, 2013

Tags: fiction, character, Arnold Shapiro, television, reality television, novel, reality boulevard

A Case Study With A Happy Ending

A few months before my first novel Reality Boulevard was due to be released on eBook, I held my breath and phoned my friend and television mentor, the legendary (Oscar and 16-time Emmy winner) Arnold Shapiro.

“Arnold,” I said, picking nervously at my fingernails. “I’ve written a novel. And one of the characters is inspired by you."

“Uh oh,” was his response.


The Meeting Was Real. It Absolutely Was Real.

February 14, 2013

Tags: Reality TV, pitch meeting, television, Hollywood, novel, inspiration, satire

The following conversation, which takes place in my novel REALITY BOULEVARD between two 20-something cable network executives and the book's main character, veteran award-wining producer Marty Maltzman, reads like satire:
"Ken steepled his fingers and gazed thoughtfully up at the ceiling. 'Dwarves have done very well for us in primetime ... of course you can never go wrong with pimps, sluts, hoes and bitches.' He winked at Kevin. 'We don't mean that in any kind of racist or sexist context, of course...Anyway, our best night of the week is our Sunday primetime lineup. We call it - for lack of a better term - our 'freaks and losers' block.' "

The irony is, these statements are word-for-word recountings of meetings I've found myself in as a longtime producer of non-fiction television. I mean it. Those meetings really happened. (more…)

Published Works

Reality Boulevard
"...a book in the tradition of great Hollywood novels, from Carroll and Garrett Graham’s Queer People (1930) to Michael Tolkin’s The Player (1988), and reads like Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 Network screenplay retooled for the 21st century" - Ken Salikoff, Kirkus Indie Magazine
"In this smart, funny, insightful novel, reality TV becomes all too real...Peltier examines the Hollywood world of writers, producers, rich kids, actors, wannabes and con men with a keen and often compassionate eye. " - Kirkus Reviews
"Once I started reading "Reality Boulevard," I could not stop...this is the best satirical look behind-the-scenes of "reality television" ever written." - Arnold Shapiro, Oscar & Emmy-winning Producer of Scared Straight; Rescue 911; Big Brother
“[Millan] arrives amid canine chaos and leaves behind peace.” —Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
Non-Fiction (Co-Author)
“As complete a tome on the subject as one could want…If the answer you’re looking for in this guide cannot be found, the question is not worth asking...this is an impressive piece of work.” - Bookviews, June 2011