Monday, September 29, 2008

Celebrity Reality Shows: Some Suggestions

A couple months ago, I lamented about the reality show-based career that Brigitte Nielsen was putting together, and I began to think about one of the root ideas behind that entry. You see, I had originally started to write a more generalized article about the difference between good reality show exposure for celebrities and horrifyingly bad ones. For example, Celebrity Rehab is a bad career move no matter who you are (not the rehab, the fact that they are filming it). And having a film crew follow you around, with a few exceptions (like Kathy Griffin for instance), is also likely going to be really bad exposure.

In all this thinking about the problem, a particular kind of show did suddenly come to mind that I think does give celebrities very positive exposure... with one particular show dominating that field.

I am talking about Dancing with the Stars.

Now, I don't watch Dancing with the Stars, but in principle, I approve of what they are doing over there. To me, there is something appealing about celebrities competing at something they actually have to learn and work at. I mean, they have to show up and learn something with enough competence to impress people who have expertise in that area.

I recently found myself watching another series based on that same kind of premise called Celebracadabra, where a group of comedians/performers were each matched up with a magician and had to learn how to put together a magic act for various kinds of venues (Hal Sparks got really good).

For instance, we have a show on Discovery Canada called Canada's Worst Handyman, which gathers a group of people, who are hopelessly incompetent when it comes to home repair and renovations and attempts to teach them the proper way of doing things while completing a larger project, and I think that this format would also be interesting for a celebrity competition... with somewhat more competent people that is. The point is that it is a competition, not an opportunity to laugh at some hapless celebrities (because you know there would be people desperate enough to get some more fame to go on the show no matter what). The second season of CWH had their contestants building sheds with the winning one being sold on Ebay, and I think that could also be an incentive for the audience of a potential celebrity based version of this concept. And because the people involved are merely inexperienced going into the show, rather than pathologically bad at building things, well, the end product might actually be something worth bidding on.

I also thought that having a celebrity cooking competition would also be interesting. You know, where a group of celebrities each get matched up with a prominent chef and they are taught how to make a certain kind of cuisine every week, culminating in an Iron Chef-type battle to see who mastered that week's lessons. And again, the challenges involved aren't meant to humiliate a desperate star, but rather make for some entertaining television. And I am sure such a program could also prove to be informative and profitable in other sectors as well, as I am sure with a long enough run, a cookbook could be put together, or at the very least a tidy revenue stream could be generated from people visiting a site devoted to the show to pick up the recipes and principles of the featured style of cooking.

And there was a series called My Bare Lady that was on a few years ago (and looks set to return this November), followed a competition between female porn stars to see who actually had the acting chops to perform in My Fair Lady (with West London actors training them), and I thought that a similar idea featuring comedians learning to become Shakespearean actors for one of his comedies would also be fascinating exercise for reality TV, and for those involved, it could get them some positive attention and help open some doors for them with casting directors and producers, and because they've developed or enhanced talents they already had, we as viewers would be the ultimate beneficiaries of such a series.

I am sure there are other great concepts that I am missing, but I think three shows like the above would really help cleanse the palate from the cheese of shows like The Surreal Life, Flavor of Love, and Armed and Famous, and help me respect the men and women with name and face recognition who go on them.


Arjan said...

I don't like reality shows period. At the moment they got this show called 'Can't buy me love' where women have to 'hook up' with a guy and can earn money and are than allowed to spend it at stupid stuff. It's just lame.

sirjorgewwe said...

I'd like to see a reality show like the game shows in Japan. Where we punish ignorance and celebrate crazy obstacles.

MC said...

Arjan: We have our fair share of shows like that over here unfortunately.

Sir Jorge: Well, I think America would benefit from that kind of spirit in general. Ignorance should be indeed punished... and some crazy stuff must be overcome.