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Carlos King: The "King of Reality TV" Keeps It Real



The crown is heavy, but not too heavy for the proclaimed King of Reality TV, Carlos King. The Detroit native has recently seen his name brought up in conversations throughout Twitter, praising his shows such as BET Presents: The Encore to OWN’s Love & Marriage Huntsville. His shows are often trending on social media, and he is credited for some of the most memorable moments in reality TV history. Now as the world finally catches up to his brilliance, King is ready to accept his title as the King of Reality TV, while being a champion for our culture on screen and in the boardrooms; and he has no qualms about doing so.



“I love it, I really do,” King says about being called the King of Reality TV. “And I take the title very seriously. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my work, and I hear the voices of Black Twitter reading me if my shows are not good…I am all over it when it comes to my shows. I have to live up to the name with everything I do,” he continues.


With his latest show, BET Presents: The Encore, Black Twitter most certainly was watching. The show, which premiered this Summer, took our favorite ladies from popular girl groups of the 90's/00's golden era of R&B music and put them under one roof with the goal of producing a collaborative album. What could go wrong? "This is the most dramatic experience of my career," King says. For many fans of his earlier work, even if they didn't recognize the man behind their favorite seasons, this show being the most dramatic experience of his career is hard to understand. This is the man who has produced other favorites such as Real Housewives Of Atlanta, Real Housewives Of New Jersey, Hollywood Divas, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, and Love & Marriage Huntsville, which new season also premiered this Summer. The spectacle that Carlos speaks of is not contrived or played up for the cameras, instead for him it is about telling and highlighting” authenticity and relatable stories”.


The ability to conceive a show, which was shot 7 years ago, and not only entertain the masses with all the formulas that it takes to make a hit reality show, but to also show moments of hope, second chances, survival, and passion, places King in his own lane; a lane he created himself. Black reality TV stars from Damon Dash to Nene Leakes are speaking out against production, producers, and networks and most of the time it comes as a result of not having Black-owned production companies and producers that are calling the shots and telling our stories.


“It’s been hard,” Carlos explains, regarding how he navigates in a white male-dominated industry. “I have been working for white men throughout my career. To be able to bet on myself was a challenge, and I wanted to take my ability as a leader to start my own company,” King says of his production company, Kingdom Reign Entertainment, one of the few elevated Black-owned production companies. And even after years of hard work and success, when the time came for Carlos to take that leap of faith white men told him not to do it. “I have been talked out of starting my own company for years,” he says. “It wasn't until I would be more in the rooms and have a seat at the table that I said ohhh, they see me as competition,” King shares of his Oprah “Aha” moment. “I had to take that leap because I knew that with the level of success that I have, it would be extremely hard for anyone else, and I want to go through what I have to go through so it is easier for the next Black person who owns a company to do what I do."


And that leap of faith paid off when news broke that Carlos would be expanding his relationship with the OWN TV network into a first-look deal, where he and his team would develop original unscripted series to air exclusively on the Oprah Winfrey Network. “Carlos and his team understand what it means to create addictive and entertaining unscripted television that connects with our viewers,” said Tina Perry, president of OWN, in a statement after the news first broke. “With the success of our expanded unscripted lineup to two nights, we look forward to our continued partnership with Carlos to develop buzzy new shows with big characters that attract audiences.” With such a groundbreaking deal, it is easy to understand why the super-producer, who also deems himself the "King of Internships" after attributing internships as his pathway into the entertainment industry, says that the hardships and obstacles have been worth it.



While running his company, serving as a creative on his projects and having a front-row seat to all the drama that takes place across his many shows, King has also kept it real when it comes to his mental health, a priority that he has implemented in his life. “I enjoy working out, it works for me,” he says. “I have learned to leave the drama at work. One thing I am doing now is after a certain time of day, don't call me. I am chillin… leave me alone, do not contact me on the weekends. I am learning barriers, I cannot take on everyone else’s problems.” King explains. Those barriers not only gave Carlos clarity in his personal life, but it has also helped him professionally, understanding what it takes in order for him to continue his success and reach new heights, as Black Twitter continues to watch him be a leader of the culture of how our stories are told.


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