While many different TikTok collab houses have been emerging in Los Angeles, their potential for growing into something bigger has also been noticed—both by TikTok influencers themselves and by TV studios. The essence of a good reality TV show is drama. Shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians (KUWTK), Jersey Shore and The Hills gathered a spectacular audience simply because we love gossiping. In his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari went as far as calling it human nature.
“What is the link between KUWTK and TikTok collab houses?” some of you might wonder. Well, just like everyone else, TikTokers are prone to drama. Last Monday, the collab house called the Sway House went to another house, the Hype House, to confront TikTok star Chase Hudson about comments he had made earlier online. Earlier in the day, TikTok influencers from different rival houses had been bashing each others on Twitter, Instagram Live, and TikTok. This became known as the ‘TikTokalypse’. Now, does it not sound like the perfect brand new reality TV show beef?
Going back to the TikTokalypse, here’s exactly what happened afterwards on The Real Preteens of TikTok. Shortly after arriving at the Hype House mansion, the Sway House boys resolved the argument in private. At 1 a.m. the TikTok star from the Sway House Jaden Hossler tweeted: “we talked. no fighting. it’s settled.” On that same day, film critic Hemanth Kumar tweeted “This is a TV series waiting to be made. Who’s calling dibs on this one?”
Apparently, Kumar would be late to the party as it’s been revealed by The New York Times that “over the past several months, every major TikTok collective has already taken steps to pursue a potential reality show.”
The most-followed influencer on TikTok, Charli D’Amelio, is exploring the possibility of a reality TV show focused on her and her family. D’Amelio signed a production deal with Industrial Media, the producer of shows like American Idol and 90 Day Fiancé.
Production studio Wheelhouse is working with the Hype House on a reality TV show defined as “the modern day Mickey-Mouse club.” The Clubhouse, another TikTok influencer collective, is working with International Creative Management (ICM) to produce a show using an in-house team while also being in conversation with production company Concordia Studio.
Meanwhile, the Sway House and its management company TalentX haven’t signed anything yet, but have confirmed they have been holding meetings and exploring their options. Talking to The New York Times, Warren Lentz, TalentX’s CEO said: “It’s clear there’s a strong appetite and there’s white space that a streaming platform or network hasn’t stepped into. We have come up with five or six different show ideas that we’ve been talking with outlets about. I do know other houses are having those conversations as well.”
It seems pretty obvious that reality shows based on this new generation of influencers are on their way. And while watching TikTokers come up with video ideas doesn’t sound all that exciting, their complicated relationships and interactions with different collab houses definitely look like a good start. Don’t get too impatient, however, as these influencers’ age might be a problem for production companies. Unscripted shows featuring a similar age range are less common, especially without having an adult around.
But, even without having the chance to watch these feuds on a TV screen just yet, aren’t TikTok users already able to follow the drama on their phones? By contemplating to give collab houses their own reality TV shows, production companies might not be offering us the chance of learning more about these influencers’ lives, but, instead, they might have found the perfect way to steal TikTok’s thunder. Could TikTok be the end of reality TV shows as we know them?
Following months of rising tensions over China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just announced on Monday that the US is considering a ban on Chinese social media apps such as the video-sharing platform TikTok. This news doesn’t really come as a surprise as it had already been discussed for a while whether TikTok being a Chinese-owned company presents data privacy concerns. Could this truly be the end of TikTok?
Speaking to Fox News, Pompeo said: “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it. With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cell phones, the United States will get this one right too.” Responding to this in a written statement, a TikTok spokesperson wrote on Tuesday: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
While this first assertion is true as ByteDance, which is the Chinese company that owns TikTok, recently appointed Kevin Mayer as the new CEO of the video-sharing app. However, many have expressed that, while this change might be a first step in the right direction, more power-shifting would be needed for TikTok to be trusted.
Similarly to the US, last week the Indian government announced that it would ban TikTok and other popular Chinese-owned apps such as WeChat over allegations that they are “engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India.” TikTok responded to these statements by saying: “TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government.”
When asked by Fox News’ Laura Ingraham what he thought of US citizens using TikTok, Pompeo answered with: “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” making it clear that this potential new ban was specifically concerning the video-sharing app.
It has become clear that since the app exploded in popularity in the US and other western countries, making it the first Chinese social media platform to gain such traction with users outside of China, TikTok has also been tied to important data privacy concerns. With India and the US both threatening to ban the app in their respective countries, it looks like this is just the first few roadblocks TikTok will encounter. While this is not the end of the app’s golden age just yet, it certainly looks like things are about to go down in the near future.
Only time will tell, but until then, make sure to read more about the many different risks TikTok represents in order to protect your personal data while still binge-watching funny videos.