For a while now, it’s seemed as if reality television was like one of those demons the Winchester boys are always hunting down on SUPERNATURAL: Get rid of one and five more pop up in their place. But there’s hope on the horizon and it comes, oddly enough, in the form of stunt casting.
Observers of the Broadway scene can always tell when a play is in danger of drawing its last breath when the show breathlessly touts the big names stepping in for short-term runs. So I’m somewhat heartened by news that two of the most vile human beings on the planet — dog-fight impresario Michael Vick and impeached, indicted seat-seller Rod Blagojevich — have signed on to do reality shows. If anyone can kill the genre, it’s these two.
Blago is hoping the courts will give him permission to jet off to the jungles of Costa Rica to take part in the new season of I’M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE, which would pay him $80,000 an episode. (Those wondering why NBC would even do a show that was pretty much a bomb when it aired on ABC back in 2003 need only look at CELEBRITY’s world-wide success). And Vick is hoping viewers will tune in for a docu-series as he attempts to make amends for the sins of his past. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Vick’s already signed a deal that would pay him somewhere in the ballpark of $600,000.
What is particularly galling is that both of these men will be paid huge amounts of money to do shows, disproving the notion that crime doesn’t pay and setting a positively horrendous example for young people everywhere. That said, bringing them into the reality-tv fold could almost prove worth the price of admission if their respective shows were swamped with negative publicity, greeted with public outcry and “rewarded” with dismal ratings, thus assuring that execs might at least think twice next time. With scripted shows biting the dust on a regular basis only to be replaced by cheaply-produced, offensively-mindless fluff like THE COUGAR, and long-running reality kings SURVIVOR and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL so completely paint-by-numbers that any member of the viewing audience can probably spout the innane lines uttered by Jeff (“Worth playing for?”) and Tyra (“Five beautiful girls stand before me…”) maybe, just maybe, people will finally tire of the genre.
Hey, a boy can dream, right?