On the Lot

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
On the Lot TV Poster Image
Competition has lead role in movie reality show.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The aspiring filmmakers are all hardworking and passionate about their dreams. But some are more actively competitive than others, and sometimes they're very rude to each other. Judges are fairly kind with their comments, but some elements -- such as the elimination rounds -- are designed to be slightly humiliating.


Discussion of violence in specific films. Potential for brief violence in aired film clips.


Discussion of romance in specific films, as well as occasional references to sex.


Occasional "hell" other rare curses are both bleeped and blurred.


The show takes place on the Universal Studios lot, and the prize is a deal with DreamWorks (which is mentioned frequently). Clips from lots of movies are included.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional drinking and smoking in the background or in brief movie clips.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this filmmaking reality show can get bitterly competitive. The contestants sometimes yell at each other and talk badly about each other to the cameras during interviews. Emotions can get very intense during wins and losses, and seeing contestants cry when their dreams are crushed can be quite sad. Other than that, some film descriptions touch on romance or violence (no details), and occasional movie clips show smoking and drinking (such as a scene from Casablanca).

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

This tv show is the best!

Who would have thought of it. American Idol but with films. Bravo. I just recently saw the 18 comedy films and some were dull and boring, some were the best I... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymartimusic123 April 9, 2008

What's the story?

ON THE LOT follows aspiring filmmakers as they compete for cash and a deal with DreamWorks. They're faced with some pretty big hurdles from the start; the very first challenge finds them preparing a movie pitch for that episode's three judges. Some contestants crash and burned with delirious tears, while others perform beautifully. The cameras catch it all, with one-on-one interviews bolstering the drama.

Is it any good?

On the Lot follows the now-familiar format of other talent-based reality show competitions, from America's Next Top Model to Hell's Kitchen. The rules are generally the same: A bunch of talented people, culled for diversity and personality, undergo challenges that sometimes seem next to impossible in hopes of getting their big break. What's novel about this series is that it's produced by Steven Spielberg, and the celebrity judges are well-known experts in the field of big-budget Hollywood filmmaking: director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) and actress Carrie Fisher (other notable names, like director Brett Ratner, rotate in as guest judges). The aspiring filmmakers also have access to top-notch equipment from the Universal Studios lot; this, along with the expert advice, puts a lot of pressure on the motley group.

Typical reality-show personality clashes pop up, highlighting the competitive nature of the process. Some folks can be nasty, but all are clearly motivated and passionate about their work. Overall, the show is fun to watch because real talent is afoot.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this series is different than -- and similar to -- other reality competition series, from America's Next Top Model to Project Greenlight. Do you think the show offers an accurate depiction of how Hollywood works? Were you surprised to see how difficult making a movie can be? What kind of movies would you like to make? What kind do you like to watch? Why?

TV details

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