Producer, Roy Orecchio, On All Things Unscripted


Ben Russell

Ben Russell

·10 min read

Roy Orecchio (he/him) is a career long unscripted producer working on some of the boldest and most memorable reality series in recent memory. For the last 10+ years, Roy has served as the Executive Producer and Showrunner on series for MTV, Bravo. Logo, E!, Fuse, and Netflix. His sharp storytelling abilities, capacity to create premium content, and strong post production skills, make him an all around “soup to nuts” producer…a quality hard to come by in an era of producer fragmentation and specialization. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Roy grew up with the glitz of the Las Vegas Strip in his backyard. Living in Las Vegas gave him a unique perspective on the value of big personalities and showmanship. Roy attended The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University before relocating to Los Angeles after graduation. Roy lives with his life partner Tim in Los Angeles, and when he’s not filming on location or working in an edit bay, he loves to snowboard all over the country and the world.

Tell us about your casting credits. What projects have you worked on?
I began working my way up the industry ladder in Burbank, starting as an assistant in the production department at The Disney Channel. Leaving Disney, I was lucky enough to become a producer on Battlebots for Comedy Central. The show was a huge cultural phenomenon at the time, we even had an Energizer Bunny parody commercial. Short of an Emmy, that’s about as good as it gets, haha! After BattleBots, I went on to become the Supervising Producer on MTV’s afternoon block of dating shows: Dismissed, Date My Mom, and Next. Again, those were all just tremendous cultural touch points for a certain generation of people who grew up watching MTV. Those dating series still come up in meetings, even today. People have such good memories of coming home from school and watching or catching a weekend marathon.

I really feel like we taught an entire group of people what to do (and not do) on a date. I’m especially proud of the casting I orchestrated on those shows, featuring LGBTQ+ daters and treating them as equally as our hetrosexual daters. It was around 2003-2006 at the time, and there were still certain cultural barriers in place that, in a small way, I helped break. MTV was really my producing home for many years and that eventually led to supervising Jersey Shore. Talk about a cultural phenomenon! It was a series that drew an unprecedented amount of attention. We were the most watched series that year on broadcast or cable. Let that sink in for a minute. That kind of success is very humbling because you are really part of something so much bigger than yourself. I can remember the streets being blocked off in front of the cast house in Seaside, with a thousand people outside just chanting the cast names, like they were BTS or Taylor Swift. It was absolutely surreal. Eventually, I went on to Executive Produce and Showrun. I am fortunate enough to have run big shows from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, to Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, MTV’s True Life, and the Netflix original series Dancing Queen. I think the through line for me in all of my projects is a focus on outrageous characters and story. I am drawn to big, loud, bold, and slightly off kilter real characters who have no filter and give zero f*cks.

What are you working on right now? Anything cool?
I’m currently on location right now working on a really interesting new project for a major cable network. I can’t say too much at the moment but I will say we’re producing this show in an entirely new way, partly because of Covid, and partly because the story just demands to be told this way. Stay tuned for more details!

I’ve also been focused on developing a slate of original unscripted formats to sell to buyers. I have deals in place with a few very large International production companies specializing in producing formats. We’re out pitching currently and making good progress on that front. After all these years of producing other people’s concepts, it’s wildly refreshing to be working on bringing my own creative to life.

What’s your favorite TV show of 2021?
My favorite scripted show is Search Party. I am in absolute awe of that series. It’s the perfect scripted show. Hands down. Full stop.

On the unscripted front, I have a deep and everlasting love of game shows and the reboot of Match Game just makes me completely happy. That show gives me every single thing I want from an hour of unscripted television. I’m also a huge Survivor fan, but of course, all of the fans of that show are having major withdrawals now as they had to take a pause due to the pandemic.

This or that -> Netflix or Disney+?
Neither! I’m a Hulu and Amazon Prime kind of guy. I also still appreciate what NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX bring to the table. Don’t count the broadcasters out just yet!

What advice do you have for others looking to break into the industry?
Network, network, network. Have your 60 second pitch of yourself ready to drop at a moment’s notice. The pandemic has made networking in person impossible, which means it’s more important than ever, to stay connected with your extended network in any way you can. I love getting those check-in emails from people I’ve worked with in the past. Those emails don’t always immediately lead to a job offer, but it gets them back on my radar for the next hiring round.

What’s one insider tip to success you’d give for others in 2021?
Don’t wait for other people to give you permission to succeed.