With the lack of ratings success for Fox’s “Married By America,” and the utter disinterest on the public’s part in viewing ABC’s “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here,” we may be seeing the beginning of the end for the TV Reality Show genre. Of course, the networks refuse to give up and, in fact, have more than a dozen lame ideas ready to hit the airwaves this year.
Not to be outdone by network nitwits, I asked the listeners of my show to come up with The Ultimate Reality Show. The entries filled my e-mailbox for a week and the panel of judges (okay, me and my producer) pored over them for nearly 12 minutes before deciding on the winners.
Two notes before I reveal them to you.
First, to make sure we’re covered legally from here on out, this column is copyrighted, and I’m retaining the original e-mails. In the event some producer reads this and wants to steal one of the ideas, we’ll make sure that both credit and cash payoffs go to the original creators — and I’ll take my standard fee of 90%.
Second, we’ve chosen a winner and two runners-up, because you never know when pictures of the winner in a compromising situation will show up on TheSmokingGun.com (personally, I think that can’t hurt in this line of work). In the event that occurs, the two runners-up will be permitted the opportunity to divulge a scandal from their own personal history, and we’ll turn that competition into the winning Ultimate Reality Show.
Here then, your Top Three:
#3…”Miss Personality” (created by Tony Crowe)
A la “The Bachelor” or “Joe Millionaire,” a guy chooses someone to date from a pack of 20 or 25 females. The twist is that the women are prohibited from using beauty enhancers of any sort. No one is allowed makeup, curling irons, blow dryers, or eyelash curlers. No high end Herbal Essence shampoos or Bath ‘n Body Works body washes; everyone must use Suave shampoo and Dial soap. No hair dye; the women must let their roots grow out. Everyone wears the same clothes much like a prison would issue the same type of outfit to its female inmates. When they go out, the ladies must choose from a limited wardrobe provided by the producers. Now, let’s see who the guy picks based just on their personalities.
#2…”Cabbie” (created by Adam Ulrich)
Contestants are flown to cities that they have never been to and are unfamiliar with, where they become a taxicab driver for a day. A caveat would be that the contestants cannot use any maps or ask directions from anyone (kind of like me and most other men). Imagine the frustration that unsuspecting passengers would have in trying to get where they want to, when the driver doesn’t know how to get there. You could even have people go to other countries where they not only don’t know where they are going, but also don’t know the language (this could play off of the stereotype in the US that cab drivers are from foreign countries and speak little or no English).
#1…”Joe Terminal Millionaire” (created by Yale Hollander)
Twenty young ladies are flown to Rochester, Minnesota, where they vie for the affections of a terminally ill patient at the Mayo Clinic. The contestants are told that the soon-to-be-deceased is fabulously wealthy and looking for companionship in his waning days. A spirited competition which could include spongebathing, spoonfeeding, and bedpan changing would narrow the contestants down to one lucky woman who will be married to the patient at his bedside. Now the dramatic twist. Upon the death of Joe Terminal Millionaire, the secret is revealed. The newly-crowned bride/widow is informed that not only was her husband not a millionaire, he was in fact broke and as the surviving spouse she alone is now responsible for his medical bills. This is where it gets fun. The widow must now engage in a series of goofy stunts, physical challenges and any other types of “Fear Factor”/”Dog Eat Dog”/”Survivor” tasks which require her to don skimpy swimsuits or clingy tops in order to earn forgiveness for portions of the debt. The possibilities are endless.
Honorable Mention: to Don Fogel, who commented, “While watching the group of has-beens they threw together for ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here,’ all I could think was, when are they going to do a celebrity version of that show?”