Jokers: How did you cast for the family? What were you looking for?
JohnPlatt: The Family cast was selected for their comedic possibilities...and their good looks. And did I mention that they fight a lot?
Jokers: Do they now! more than we saw in first few episodes? And hey! Did they draw blood?
JohnPlatt: Yep...they're handsome, funny...and pissed at each other. Who could ask for anything more! They drew first blood...not me
Jokers: Ooooh..any stitches?
JohnPlatt: I 'm recovering
Jokers: Are the servants actual servants? Did you get them from some servant agency?
JohnPlatt: The servants are all REAL servants. Not actors...which we felt was very important to make the show real
Jokers: how did you find them?
JohnPlatt: The servants were found through various domestic agencies across the country.
Jokers: I want to know if the chef ever considered putting poison in the mothers food?
JohnPlatt: Franck..the chef...was always hoping to try out new recipes on the family...and I'm sure he would have liked your suggestion. Aunt Donna didn't like his cooking.
Jokers: She also wondered if he came up with exotic foods to flip em out!
JohnPlatt: He pushed his culinary skills to the limit...and the Family were great guinea pigs for his recipes
Jokers: I hate to ask.. anyone get sick? Or run out the door? ;)
JohnPlatt: Look for some 'indigestion' in future episodes...I can't say more than that, But it's funny.
Jokers: Did the servants meet to talk about the family off camera?
JohnPlatt: Yes, the servants discussed the Family in secret all through the episode. Their debates are hysterical! You'll see plenty of servant debates in later episodes.
Jokers: How did George Hamilton get along with the Family?
JohnPlatt: I think the Family really grew on George. I'm sure he liked some more than others, but he seemed to really enjoy their company.
Jokers: I want to see Dawn Marie sock it to one of the others. Can I look forward to this? Gimme a hint!
JohnPlatt: Dawn Marie is a real fighter...that I can say without giving too much away. A real solid fighter!
Jokers: Are you worried about the future of "Hollywood actors" with so many reality shows being successful?
JohnPlatt: I know a lot of actors...and I feel for them right now. A lot of people are out of work with the advent of Reality TV...but not me, fortunately.
Jokers: Do you see reality TV on the wane, as others say?
JohnPlatt: I think REALITY TV will evolve into new and better forms in the future...I can't wait to see it happen, and I hope to be a part of it. It should be really exciting!
Jokers: You think Family is helping reality TV?
JohnPlatt: I think reality and fiction will eventually collide.
Jokers: How so?
JohnPlatt: I think The Family is changing reality TV for the better. It's not as negative as a lot of these shows. Much more funny and uplifting. A comedy really.
Jokers: I find it hard to believe they wont figure out that the servants are the secret panel of judges. Do any of the family catch on at any point? will it cause drama?
JohnPlatt: Some FAMILY members brought up the possibility of the servants being 'the secret board,' and dismissed the notion quickly...the fools! You'll see that Wednesday night...
Jokers: Who did they think it really was? LOL
JohnPlatt: They had all sorts of ideas...friends of George Hamilton...other family members...they were all over the map with their theories.
Jokers: I bet that was funny for y'all behind the scenes!
Jokers: Did any of the servants get so pissed they wanted to walk? For that matter, did the Family themselves ever get fed up totally? Or was the money too big a draw?
JohnPlatt: Ringo was a little high strung at times. And Linda the Maid got pretty pissed at how she was sometimes treated...but they're professional servants, and they bit their tongues.
Jokers: Must have been hard on them, but funny for us :D
JohnPlatt: Who's going to walk out of a game when a MILLION DOLLARS is at stake? I know I wouldn't.
Jokers: It depends! See Survivor, lol, I'd be, personally, outta there.
JohnPlatt: The harder on them the better, is what I say...
Jokers: Can you give us a hint at.. how hard on them it got?
JohnPlatt: Make 'em earn it, you betcha!!
Jokers: Oh hell yeah!
JohnPlatt: It gets harder each week...and the finale is heartbreaking and incredible. I really FELT for these people!
Jokers: Wow. Heartbreaking?! No more hints? That somehow scares me.
JohnPlatt: I laughed...I cried...I was amazed at how it all turned out.
Jokers: It sounds amazing and something to be proud of being involved with.
JohnPlatt: I'm very proud of this show.
Jokers: OK shoot me. But I have to ask.. you can choose to not answer.. how is it, in opposition to Big Brother, for you?
Jokers: Did at any time the staff have a difficult time telling them they shouldn't be treated so badly because they hold the family's fate?
JohnPlatt: The Staff are real pros...they work with all sorts of rich, powerful people, they're used to keeping secrets
Jokers: If someone didn't watch the show, what is the one thing you would want them to know to gain their interest?
JohnPlatt: Big Brother and The Family are such different shows. I love them both. Big Brother is more like The Godfather...while the Family is almost a spoof of Dynasty in a way. Very different types of shows
JohnPlatt: The Family are people that everyone can relate to...everyone has Family members like these. And we can ask ourselves how we would compete against our own blood.
Jokers: It would be BLOOD for some of us!
JohnPlatt: It's a very interesting social dilemma
JohnPlatt: BLOOD or MONEY? That's really the question.
Jokers: Did it turn out as you'd thought? Or did the family react differently?
JohnPlatt: I couldn't have guessed how it would end, right up until the last day of shooting. I couldn't believe it!!
Jokers: What a great idea for a reality show. When will we see the family 2?
JohnPlatt: If THE FAMILY does well...and I think it deserves to...I hope ABC will pick us up again for next year. Don't you?!
Jokers: This one is different!
Jokers: What didn't we see when the family first arrived at their new home?
JohnPlatt: We didn't see the boys talking about what they'd like to do with their girlfriends in that great big shower...I saw it, but you didn't. Most of the bathroom stuff we left private.
Jokers: Most, I note.
Jokers: Have you ever toyed with the idea of doing an all internet reality show with live feeds?
JohnPlatt: Well, as some of you know, I also work on Big Brother...and we're live on the internet 24 hours a day on that one.
Jokers: When a show starts to become boring, will you spice it up or just let it run it's course?
JohnPlatt: What I do as a producer is enhance reality...never change it. There are always great moments in every life, every day. Look around you. We just capture it and add music.
Jokers: How was it working with Susan Lucci?
JohnPlatt: Susan Lucci is TERRIFIC! I used to watch All My Children with my mom when I was a kid...and although I've aged, Susan Lucci HASN'T! Strange...
Jokers: Do you use any hidden cameras in production or is everyone aware when cameras are present?
JohnPlatt: With The Family, cameras were visible to the Family members...but they'd forget about them after a few days. And we'd often leave cameras running on tri-pods without cameramen, to trick them into thinking they were alone. It worked wonderfully. BLUSHING
Jokers: They didn't seem to mind cameras, to begin with, did they?
JohnPlatt: Reality casts are always nervous around cameras to begin with...but they so quickly forget that they're there.
Jokers: It seems like the judges make decisions for different reasons like who was nicest to them, or who acted the part of snobby rich person better. Were there any guidelines for them to follow when making their choices?
JohnPlatt: The staff was allowed to judge the Family using any standards they wanted...that's what made their deliberations so interesting. We never told them what to say.
Jokers: Did George Hamilton actually film all of his intros etc in front of the family? (Sometimes I can't decide if he's just getting the classic vaselined-camera-lens treatment or if perhaps he was forced to film his bits outside the range of the inevitable cat-calls, hoots and hollers of the family...)
JohnPlatt: George was ALWAYS right there in front of the Family. But he's so handsome it almost takes you out of the reality of the moment. And the Family were almost in awe of him, and would get really quiet...at first! They got used to him, and started calling him George, like he was their best buddy...really funny!
Jokers: Were those paintings or were they photos made to look like paintings? If so, who painted them?
JohnPlatt: Those were paintings painted by several portrait artists...but they were painted from photos, which is why they look so good. But real, freehand paintings. Weren't they good?! We have some super talented people working for us!
Jokers: TC wants to know: how do I sign up for The Family 2?
JohnPlatt: Assuming the Family 2 happens...which I hope it does...watch your local website for sign-up info...like Joker's Updates!
Jokers: You had chosen Hamilton from the start?
JohnPlatt: George was Arnold Shapiro's 1st pick as host. I think Arnold knew him. I thought he was PERFECT! I was so thrilled to be working on a reality show with a movie star!
Jokers: John, do you think by pulling out The Family made people LOSE interest in ABC Reality Shows (Mole2 happened to it too) or might've lost some viewers because of it (Family)?
JohnPlatt: I think it was smart for ABC to pull the Family when they did. The war had just started, and it was not a good time to promote a funny reality show. The war was all too real. The Mole proved that shows can make it after being pulled, and go on to great success. I was glad ABC didn't just dump us in the middle of war coverage. It's a really good show...I'm glad they waited until now.
Jokers: George Hamilton looks forever tan and forever young, Is he as fun in real life as he seems on The Family?
JohnPlatt: George LOVED working on the show...he was always laughing during the games, having a blast. What a terrific guy!
Jokers: Will there be a DVD set with outtakes, etc?
JohnPlatt: I don't know about the DVD. That would be nice! I'd love to put it together!
Jokers: Do you feel that anything specific could be added to reality shows to make them more real? It seems like most these days aren't reality at all. For the game shows, it's people acting fake in hopes of not being voted out. Or people acting emotional to make good TV in hopes of being noticed and furthering their acting career.
JohnPlatt: It's weird...put a camera on someone, and they start 'acting.' It pisses me off. But put a bunch of cameras on people 24 hours a day and dig through the tape, and you can find the reality in there. It's always there, you just have to dig it out. That's what my team and the editors do.
Jokers: Can you tell us who the additional mystery guest will be on the August 13th show?
JohnPlatt: It wouldn't be much of a mystery if I told ya! (next question) LOL!
Jokers: How can there be a Family 2? (The "secret board" is no longer secret...)
JohnPlatt: Ahhh, but the Secret Board can be anyone at all! Just not the same people. Maybe a website group could judge them? Hey, that's a great idea! I'm copyrighting that right now!!
Jokers: Does anything ever come out, of a private nature, on members of the Family?
JohnPlatt: Oh, yes!! Private info is always leaking from the Family the entire series...that's what makes it so fun! Hey, they signed releases...
Jokers: How many families did you audition? Roughly?
JohnPlatt: Dozens of Families, from all over the country. You gotta look hard to find a group like this one!!
Jokers: Any chance for more reality shows with live internet feeds? I think many reality fans truly love the live feed, we get to see what's really going on. Really get to know the contestants.
JohnPlatt: Internet feeds are very difficult, because you have to have a HUGE staff of people who can NEVER SLEEP! It pushes the budget higher and higher...and right now it's the lower budget of reality shows which make them so appealing to the networks
Jokers: Did you ever get a chance to eat anything that Franck Porcher prepared?
JohnPlatt: I have yet to have any of Franck's work...though he has a restaurant in Palm Beach which I'd love to go to.
Jokers: How many hours of tape does it take you to go through for a one hour show?
JohnPlatt: OH MY GOD...the TAPE! It's about 100 hours of footage for each one hour episode...makes you cross eyed!
Jokers: Yoikes! How many folks help you?
JohnPlatt: A LOT! Let me put it that way. And I'm not the only one looking, believe me! Besides the Field Team, their were an additional 5 Story Producers and 10 editors here in post. And we were going 24 hours a day here on the backside! (A bunch of those same people are working with me now on BB4...by the way...) They're the best...
Jokers: Did the family members find it hard knowing they would have to keep their mouths shut longer than they thought when the show was postponed?
JohnPlatt: The Family members have a great incentive to stay quiet...the money's not paid out until the final show airs. They're not talking!! But it must be SUPER hard for them to wait. I feel for them!
Jokers: Is The Family always going to be on Wed opposite BB?
JohnPlatt: The Family will start airing at 10pm Wednesday nights starting next week (after BB4), it's only against Big Bro this week because it's a two hour re-launch special. (thank god!) That's what TIVO's are for!
Jokers: Did all of the servants get along with one another? Were there any personality clashes?
JohnPlatt: Oh my god...NO! The servants did not always get along with each other...they start fighting themselves as the series progresses. It's HYSTERICAL! Oh, yeh! You'll see Ringo and Andrew go at each other!!
Jokers: Just a comment about Family2, I think this seasons cast should be the secret judges!
JohnPlatt: Good idea, Lucinda. But now you've suggested it, they probably won't use it. Gotta be a secret, remember. LOL!
Jokers: How long did their voting sessions really last?
JohnPlatt: The staff's deliberation session before voting would sometimes take hours...and before they started they reviewed tapes of competitions, and others events in the house that they hadn't been around to "see" firsthand.
Jokers: Which Family member is your favorite?
JohnPlatt: I love all my FAMILY the same...isn't that what our parents always said?
Jokers: I'm from Palm Beach, FL .. Which Restaurant?
JohnPlatt: I forget the restaurant name, but I bet an internet search would find it quickly.
Jokers: I notice that he servants are trying to teach this family proper dinner etiquette. It's funny. Was finding a family with poor table manners part of the criteria for being Selected? What did you look for in a family?
JohnPlatt: Let's just say we were hoping to find a family that was a little 'rough around the edges'...and we LUCKED OUT BIG TIME!
JohnPlatt: THE FAMILY! 9pm Wednesday! (10pm next week) And with BB4, I never know anything until it happens! You guys are the coolest!!!
JohnPlatt: Thanks for being here...thanks for caring...and thanks for watching. I hope you like the show as much as I do! It was my pleasure to make it for ya!!
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