KID NATION: Watch Before You Judge

kid nation

Is anyone else getting tired of all the negative publicity surrounding KID NATION? Because this TV Addict certainly is.

With Mandy Patinkin leaving the building and everything quiet on the GREY’S ANATOMY front, KID NATION has simply become the punching bag du jour for the media to take shots at. Allegations of child abuse! Calls for the show’s cancellation! Internal investigations! The media scrutiny’s become so loud you’d think Janet Jackson had another wardrobe malfunction.

Here’s an idea for everyone who’s horrified that CBS would take ‘advantage’ of these poor kids — how about you actually watch the show before you call for its cancellation (yes, I’m talking to you Deadline Hollywood).

Have I seen the show? No. But if I were to judge the show based on the extended preview CBS sent me, I’d say that KID NATION looks to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a lucky group of kids. One that’s unfortunately about to be ruined thanks to this endless barrage of negative media.

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  • h

    All right, as a parent I have to sound off on this one. I honestly don’t know how laws were not violated in the making of this show. Leaving your child alone to fend for himself even in a group of other kids is child abandonment, is it not? If these parents had left their kids in their own homes and taken off on a vacation child protective services and the media would be all over them. How does the presence of camera crews and adults who aren’t supposed to help/interact with the kids change this?

    At the very least the idea of sticking your kid into an Old West Lord of the Flies scenario is just bad parenting no matter how much money they could earn for college. But the parents that are suing are ridiculous. They knew what they signed up for. And if it’s true that no laws were broken, CBS can air it, but I do not intend to watch it.

  • B

    AS A PARENT OF ONE OF THE CHILDREN WHO WAS ON THE SHOW, I AM SO SICK OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU BASHING THE SHOW. WE ARE ALL GOING TO SIT BACK AND LAUGH ONCE PEOPLE ACTUALLY SEE IT AND FIND OUT HOW RIDICULOUS THEY LOOK FOR THE STUPID POST THEY MAKE. MY CHILD WAS NOT MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY DAMAGED IN ANY WAY. THIS WAS ABOUT A 6 MONTH PROCESS BEFORE WE MADE THE DECISION TO LET OUR KIDS DO THIS. YOU ARE IGNORANT IF YOU THINK AS A PARENT I DID NOT MAKE SURE MY CHILD WOULD BE SAFE. THE QUESTIONS I ASKED, THE TUTORING MY CHILD HAD SO HE WOULD NOT MISS SCHOOL WORK, HIS ABSENCE WAS SCHOOL BOARD APPROVED BY THE WAY. YOUR JUST ANOTHER ONE OUT THERE SLAMMING PARENTS WHEN YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE RANTING ABOUT

  • Dear ‘h’,

    I’m going to qualify this by saying I’m not a parent. But if my child had the opportunity to take part in this social experiment. I think I would have said yes.

    To me it isn’t about the money. Just the experience. Kids these days need to start realizing how lucky they are to grow up so privelaged. Forty days away at camp seems like a fantastic growth opportunity.

    Additionaly, the kids were surrounded by cameras 24/7, medics and adult professionals. How on earth can people scream abandonment. The kids were no doubt far better supervised in the ‘nation’ then in real life.

    I also believe the parent or parents who are now contemplating legal action are just in it for the publicity and the money and will hopefully have their case swiftly dismissed.

  • Jess

    WELL ASIDE FROM ALL YOUR VERY VALID POINTS. I’M NOT GOING TO WATCH THE SHOW BECAUSE I AM TIRED OF REALITY TV TAKING OVER MY TELEVISION AND BECAUSE ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS (JERICHO! GO NUTS!) WAS “ALMOST” CANCELLED TO MAKE SPACE FOR YET ANOTHER REALITY TV SHOW.

  • What’s the deal with all the ‘angry’ all caps?

  • Aileen

    I agree, what’s with the caps? Please avoid all caps: it just gives everyone a headache and makes you seem way too angry.

    I actually think the concept of the show sounds interesting, and if the kid wants to do it, then it could just be like a really weird summer camp. It’s not ACTUALLY Lord of the Flies, because I very much doubt that the network would let the kids dance around a pig head or crush another kid with a boulder. There ARE still people around to make sure nobody dies.

    However, when I read the NYT article about the show (“Kid Nation Parents Gave Show Free Reign) I was both disturbed and amused with the following passage that was apparently in the contract:

    “Good TV Inc. and Magic Molehill Productions, retained the rights to the children’s life stories “in perpetuity and throughout the universe.” And that right includes the right to portray the children either accurately or with fictionalization “to achieve a humorous or satirical effect.””

    I interpreted this to mean that the company had the right to write about the children at a future date in their life any way they pleased, beyond the life of the show (ie, could portray them when they were teenagers). Am I wrong about this? Do they just retain the right to control/edit the content of the show? Because if they had the right to write/show whatever they wanted about these children throughout these children’s lives, that would be some scary amount of control (and the kids couldn’t even escape it by leaving the planet!)

  • Aileen, I think the paragraph refers to how reality TV often edits to make certain situations play out how the producers want.

    My main concern is the aftermath. TV, especially reality TV likes to paint characters as well, characters. On most reality TV shows there’s the dumb one, the evil one, the lazy one, the leader, the annoying one… etc.. You would hate to see the show portray the kids in a negative light, and have that haunt kids for the rest of their childhood. That said, I have faith that CBS and the producers are not that stupid and will only paint the kids in the most positive of light.

  • Linda B.

    Ow, my head hurts from all the caps 🙁

  • h

    TV Addict, this is not a “social experiment” this is profiteering. If PBS had done it, and they have with their series of live in “olden times” shows, maybe I’d consider it a social experiment, but not from CBS. I’m certain that if the ratings tank and advertisers bolt, it will be pulled.

    And B I’m sorry, but I think its bad parenting to leave your child under the “care” of other kids and camera crews for any amount of time. CBS has essentially admitted that in most states they wouldn’t have been able to get away with this which is why they filmed where they did. I respect your right to make a choice for your child, but check back in with us months and years from now before you claim there have been no damages.

  • h, I’m not going to deny CBS is profitting. But they’re a company with shareholders. I don’t bregudge them that. Everything in TV’s about money. That’s life.

    Parent’s on the other hand got to send their kids to the ultimate summer camp for FREE! Do you know how much a summer camp costs? The camp I went to — it’s over 5,000 per summer.

    And finally, yes there are reasons CBS choose New Mexico. Obviously they were skirting some labour laws. They should have been far more upfront about their intentions with this show. That in the end, may be their undoing.

  • h

    Yes I do know how much summer camp costs. I sent my child to one this year and it included adult supervision for all activities, an over 18 year old counselor for every 5-8 children and plenty of free time with their peers to engage in ghost story telling and other kid fun, but with a “safe” adult within easy reach at all times. And to head it off at the pass, I’m aware there are potentially “unsafe” adults out there, but that’s why you choose the camp you do.

  • Claire

    I like hearing a parent of one of the kids opinion and I agree. It’s not as if they put any kids in the show that didn’t want to be there and they could leave at any time. Plus I think putting your kid on a talk show because they are bullied, or a fat is much worse than putting them on a show where they are allowed to have some fun, work together and be themselves. If the show comes to Australia I will be watching.

  • I am SO excited to see it! It looks original!