Reality TV continues to make lots of money for networks, despite the fact that many shows now portray what the industry calls "scripted reality."
That's how the Robertson Family, made famous by A&E's "Duck Dynasty" describes their show. Producers give them a scenario (scripted) and members of the family carry it out using their God-given personalities and perspectives (reality).
I've now had the chance to spend time with several members of the Robertson family. In April, I spent a weekend with Willie and Korie Robertson. They're main "characters" on Duck Dynasty and chief executives of Duck Commander, the family duck call business. They attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner and several other associated events as guests of CBN News.
In fact, the Friday night before the big dinner, we all ended up at Ben's Chili Bowl (a Washington, D.C. landmark) for a late dinner. Willie took the opportunity to invite his buddy and Washington Nationals first baseman, Adam LaRoche.
We all sat there eating turkey dogs, chili fries, and other Bowl classics (CBN News's other guests Donald and Betina Driver and Pat and Gina Neely were there, too) enjoying ourselves like folks who had known each other for years.
Most recently I had the opportunity to spend an entire day with Alan and Lisa Robertson. Alan is the oldest Robertson brother who made his debut on Duck Dynasty's season 4 premiere. About a year ago he left the church he had pastored for more than 20 years to rejoin the family business and now the show.
We met the day after the Duck Dynasty premiere was watched by nearly 12 million people. We met Alan at 7:30 a.m. at Duck Commander as he prepared to lead the company's weekly devotion time. Employees voluntarily show up for work an hour early to take part in the ritual.
He and Lisa spent the rest of the day patiently showing us around Duck Commander, including the rooms and places made famous by the show. They took us to their church where I conducted a lengthy interview and waited for CBN's camera crew to set up and tear down lights, cameras and tripods.
They then led us through the Chick-Fil-A drive through on our way - 30 miles out of town - to Phil and Miss Kay's house. We even stopped by Uncle Si's house, but (perhaps appropriately) was taking a nap. Alan's phone dinged constantly throughout the day as people texted him and called him after his big premiere, but he never lost his focus on us.
At Phil and Miss Kay's, we shot some video outside and then went inside to meet Phil. Miss Kay was out of town attending a funeral. As we walked inside I noticed Lisa washing dishes. She had gone inside while we were outside shooting with Alan, noticed that the dishes needed to be washed and started washing them.
It was such a kind and genuine gesture. There she was spending the day with a national television crew shooting a story about her husband and she selflessly stopped to wash her mother-in-law's dishes. I later asked her about it and she told me, "she didn't want Miss Kay to come to all those dishes after a long trip."
After nearly nine hours of shooting with the couple, that ended in a duck blind on the Robertson Family's hunting land, we said "thank you" and went back to our hotel.
But that wasn't goodbye. About an hour later Alan called me to see if we had decided where we were having dinner. He wanted to recommend a good restaurant. Lisa also got on the phone to say goodbye.
Watch my profile on Alan Robertson below: