May 2012 Articles

From Bryn Mawr to BRAVO

Marina Nieto Ritger ’93 contemplates her long, strange trip to a career in reality TV.

 By David Volk

Marina Nieto Ritger ’93 takes a break from filming The Amazing Race 17 at the Kaneshie Market in Accra, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Nieto Ritger.

Marina Nieto Ritger ’93 takes a break from filming The Amazing Race 17 at the Kaneshie Market in Accra, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Nieto Ritger.

A funny thing happened to Marina Nieto Ritger ’93 on her way to pursuing a legal career. She decided she didn’t like law all that much and opted for a career in entertainment instead, even though she wasn’t sure exactly what that might mean. After stints as an assistant at a literary agency and at the Fox Family Network, she found herself boldly going where few, if any, Bryn Mawr alumnae have gone before—the world of reality television. After seven seasons as a story producer for the Emmy Award-winning program The Amazing Race, she recently moved on to be a producer for The Real Housewives of New York.

Here, Nieto Ritger reflects on her “long, strange trip” from Bryn Mawr to Bravo.


Favorite Bryn Mawr Class: American literature classes focusing on people, places, and plots she never saw on TV.

Doing Time With The Law: She was the first member of her mother’s family to attend college, and her father convinced her to make the practical choice. So she became a paralegal at a
high-powered Washington, D.C., firm.

Biggest Break: Getting hired in 2002 by a small, new department at NBC that focused on something called reality TV.  She assisted the department head at a time when NBC/Bravo rolled out Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Project Runway, and The Apprentice.

Biggest Coup: Beating 3,400 applicants to become one of six to enter NBC’s Associates Program in 2004, garnering a coveted spot in the drama-development department. She enjoyed the opportunity but had developed a new taste for reality TV.

Biggest Challenge: Returning to work after taking a year and a half off to care for a son born with complications. At the time, she feared her career might slip away.

Riskiest Move: Becoming a freelance producer. Nieto Ritger traded a salary and expense account for more time with her son and a chance to be creative as a segment producer at Big Brother. The risk eventually led to a producing job at The Amazing Race.

Strangest Thing She’s Done: Over the course of one day in the field as a story producer at The Amazing Race, Nieto Ritger had to ride a scooter to follow teams of contestants through the crowded streets of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and film in a cobra-infested rice paddy.

Lasting Lesson From Bryn Mawr: Nieto Ritger prides herself on applying the Bryn Mawr honor code in an industry that doesn’t always respect honor and integrity. The respect she’s shown others has come back to her in the form of career assistance from unexpected sources.