I might appear on a Reality TV Show. Should I get a lawyer to review the contract and rights I will have?

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Question:

Question My family applied to appear on a TV reality show that may start filming soon. We were each asked to sign waivers acknowledging that we would only be paid for the first airing of the show. We each also had to give up all rights to make any editing choices about the scenes shown on TV. I’m pretty sure I want to go ahead with this but I am not sure the contract is fair. Who should I talk to? The show is supposed to start filming here in New York City in six weeks.

Response: You’re definitely smart to question whether you are signing away too many rights. However, you may simply have to decide if being too conservative may cost you some excellent opportunities on down the road. In some ways, you do have a say in the final editing by just keeping tabs on the things you say and do. No one will probably try to make you embarrass yourself, unless certain gag contests are involved. Call up a local entertainment attorney to see if he or she will review your contract for you. Your lawyer’s expertise could save all of you a lot of future grief -- or at least make sure you get a fair share of many different types of future royalties or profits.

Answered by Elizabeth Smith

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