Media production expert thrives in producing high-rated television shows
Daniel Ariano is a seasoned television and film producer with over eight years of industry experience. His extensive list of credits includes hits such as “Ídolos” (Brazilian “American Idol”), “TUF Brasil” (Brazilian “The Ultimate Fighter”) and most recently, “O Aprendiz” (Brazilian “The Apprentice”).
Led by two different hosts over the course of its ten season run, “O Aprendiz” was a Brazilian, business reality show where candidates competed for a contract in a specific that would last at least one year, paid by the program’s sponsor. Competitors were divided into two teams where they were asked to complete a series of tasks that were then judged by the presenter and a panel of counselors.
A natural born leader, Ariano climbed up the latter upwards from his very first position on the show, moving from Production Assistant to Production Coordinator over a span of four seasons. Ariano was a part of seasons 7, 8, 9, and 10 of “O Aprendiz,” his responsibilities varying and increasing as the years progressed.
Prior to his work on “O Aprendiz,” Ariano gained experience with reality television via producing season 4 of “Ídolos,” Brazila’s version of America’s famed show, “American Idol.” His talents caught the attention of director Fernando Viudez, who later connected Ariano to “O Aprendiz.”
Speaking of their collaborations, Viudez provided, “I first met Daniel on the “Ídolos” production. Our crew was big, but Daniel was young and thirsty, and had a way of looking at television production like no one I’d ever met before. I invited him to be a part of “O Aprendiz” and, there, he surprised me even more. He is a leader, and he brought his intelligence and added to an already good TV show, making it great.”
The types of contestants involved and the overall theme of “O Aprendiz” that Ariano worked on varied from season to season. The 7th season followed college students, the 8th entrepreneurs, the 9th welcomed back the show’s original host, Roberto Justus, and the 10th showcased well-known celebrities. “Working on “The Apprentice” was a real challenge for me. I think it’s the most real TV show out there among all other reality TV. You give the contestants a task, and they can do and go wherever they want in order to complete it, so you have to be ready for every kind of situation,” Ariano said regarding his experience.
On the flip side of challenging, the production provided Ariano with luxury of traveling all over the world for his work as a result of his stellar communication skills and problem solving abilities. “Besides traveling all over Brazil, the show was shot in Turkey, Colombia, Orlando, Washington D.C., Italy, and South Africa, to name a few places. On top of location scouting and taking care of legal authorizations, my responsibilities were to follow all of the contestants during each of the tasks, make sure that the history was being told properly and that the logistics between the production crew were always 100%,” Ariano commented.
That being said, the perks of getting to travel for work didn’t come without challenges. “From dealing with flat tires to international travel arrangements for 60+ people, I faced it all,” Ariano admitted. “Traveling is fun when you’re on vacation, but when you travel for work, your mind never rests.”
With it’s multiple, demanding components, even Viudez agreed that working on “O Aprendiz,” “Is a challenge like no other. We chose every member of the production carefully. We have an inside joke that goes, “To be a good producer for The Apprentice, you can’t eat, sleep or sit.” However, joke aside, it’s hard. It’s really hard. And people like Daniel make it easy. He has a light way of dealing with hard situations, and that just makes everyone calmer. At his first season, he was a great producer. By his fourth, he was necessary for the show. Plus, if you enjoy the people you spend the majority of your day with, you will enjoy your work.”
Contestants over the four seasons of “O Aprendiz” ranged from everyday college students and businessmen, to musicians, actors, TV hosts, models, and athletes. For the first six seasons, businessman and TV personality Roberto Justus hosted the show, while entrepreneur, university professor and politician Joao Doria Jr. presented the latter end.
“My favorite episode was from the first season I worked on, the “semifinal” episode,” Ariano said. “It took place in Italy, and on that episode I had to go on camera and disqualify a contestant, Gabriela Gaspari da Costa, because she had broken a rule. The task was to get from one point in Italy to another point, in a different city, without money and without asking for it or for a ride. What you could do was find some work and get paid to do it. Contestants had 48 hours to complete that. What Gabriela did, was ask for a ride and ask for money to buy a train ticket. Since I was the one following her with a hidden camera, I had to disqualify her.”
In the final season of “O Aprendiz” involving celebrity contestants, every icon represented a single charity. The winning participant was volleyball player Ana Moser, who raised 828,000 reais (translated to something around $400,000) for her charity. “It’s always more satisfying when you know your work is going to help someone in need,” said Ariano of the matter. “It wasn’t about the audience, it was about doing the right thing. I gave so much of my life to this show, and knowing that charities benefitted from it made my time and work that much more worth it.”
Ariano stated, “There’s a saying among producers from The Apprentice that goes, “If you can produce The Apprentice, you can produce anything on TV.” And it’s so true. The show puts you on the spotlight constantly, and everyday is a new experience. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something brand new is thrown at you, and being able to live through that makes you grow as a person and as a professional.”