Reality Rocks convention hits few high notes on first day

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The producers of the inaugural Reality Rocks Expo may aspire for the event to eventually become the Comic-Con of the reality TV world. But they may already need a new script.

Lacking premiere attractions or A-list reality stars, the first day of the two-day expo, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets, drew only sparse crowds to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Sessions featuring stars and personalities from ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos,’ ‘Shark Tank’ and ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ were far from full.

Other panels in cavernous meeting rooms featuring lower-ranked contestants from past seasons of ‘American Idol’ drew embarrassingly small audiences.

Some stars tried to take the low turnout in stride. ‘Come on, let the crowd in,’ joked Eric Roberts (‘Celebrity Rehab’) as the panel ‘Reality TV Changed My Life’ started. ‘There’s plenty of seats.’


A session on social media featuring Mark Cuban and Daymond John of ‘Shark Tank’ quickly collapsed. Attendees were supposed to ‘Twitter pitch’ their ideas for inventions or products in 140 characters or less, with the two hosts providing immediate feedback. But despite the best efforts of KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin, who moderated the session, to maintain control, many of the pitches were prolonged, desperate pleas for funding.

Said one audience member, ‘This is why a producer is needed to filter this stuff out!’

The action on the convention floor was also lukewarm. An autograph area drew mixed reaction: Cuban and former porn star Ron Jeremy (‘The Surreal Life’) had lines, while others such as LaKisha Jones from the sixth season of ‘American Idol’ had only a few visitors. Gretchen Bonaduce, the former wife of Danny Bonaduce (‘Breaking Bonaduce’) could do little to excite a small crowd with her 1980s cover band, Ankehsenamen.

Besides Cuban, some of the more prominent participants included Bruce and Kris Jenner (‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’) and Nick Cannon (‘America’s Got Talent’). Missing from the event were reality stars that might have drawn large crowds, including Simon Cowell (‘The X Factor,’ ‘American Idol’), Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson from ‘American Idol,’, Jeff Probst (‘Survivor’) or any of the gang from ‘Jersey Shore.’

There was one positive sign to the opening day: the food lines were short.

-- Greg Braxton