After Big Brother, what next for Reality TV?
Nadia and friends have left Britain's most infamous house, but there's plenty more where that came from. Ciar Byrne previews 12 upcoming grosser-than-fiction shows. Only one is made up. (Answer below.)
Saturday 07 August 2004
Meet The Neighbours
Meet The Neighbours
From the makers of Wife Swap, Meet The Neighbours takes five diverse families from around the UK and brings them together in a purpose-built community in Dorset this summer. An expert will be on hand to guide the families to form a peaceable community, says RDF Media, which is making the show for Channel 4. But if its other show Wife Swap is anything to go by, expect battles across the picket fences. The families are from as wide a range of backgrounds (and as broad an opportunity for tension) as possible, including "challenging" neighbours, upright members of the community, and families with lots of pets.
Ladette to Lady
In this updated version of My Fair Lady, to be shown on ITV1 later in the autumn, 10 self-confessed ladettes are sent to finishing school. The makers of Faking It - the show that transformed members of the public into instant DJs, drag artists and fashion photographers - have recreated an authentic ladies' finishing school. The tomboyish pupils will learn elocution, etiquette and deportment, and, by the time they leave, will be expected to be expert flower arrangers who can whip up a cordon bleu meal. Having been fully coached in the feminine graces, the contestants will then compete to pass themselves off as genuine "ladeez".
After the huge success of the jungle setting in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, the latest wheeze is for celebrities to tough it out on a farm. The Big Brother creators Endemol are in discussions with Five about the show, in which the entertainment value will be derived from observing the culture shock suffered by urbanites who are suddenly immersed in rural life. The contestants will experience at first hand the realities of living on a farm today, mucking out stables and barns, tending to farm animals and growing crops. A similar format has already proved a hit in Norway.
A Hell's Kitchen for football fans. A squad of 18 celebrities spend a week living and training together at Newcastle United's state-of-the-art football academy, with a big name football manager taking on the Gordon Ramsay role. The prime-time Sky One show will go on air every night for a week at the start of October. Viewers will have a chance to monitor the contestants' progress and to vote them out of the squad. In a grand finale, those who make it through to the end of the show will play against some of the biggest names in Premiership football in a charity football match at St James's Park.
Kiss And Sell
Six volunteers - three male, three female - are schooled in the art of making money from seducing celebrities. The programme's experts (identities as yet undisclosed) provide coaching not just in seduction techniques but also in engineering "chance" encounters with famous targets ranging from footballers to politicians; in collecting evidence; and in selling the results to the media. Expect a chorus of disapproval from the red-top press - and an even louder one from the participants when would-be kiss'n'tellers who make the grade discover the surprise twist: that the objects of their wiles are lookalikes.
Sixteen women who want to learn to love themselves are put through four months of radical transformation, undergoing an intensive programme of plastic surgery, dentistry, diet, exercise and life coaching. At the end of the gruelling process, the remaining contestants compete against one another in a beauty contest. When it was screened in the US earlier this year, the show attracted 15 million viewers. But it also courted controversy from parents and commentators who feared it was promoting plastic surgery. Living TV has acquired the first two series of the show from Fox.
Mixing history with reality TV, this four-part Channel 4 series pays tribute to the airmen who risked their lives in RAF Bomber Command in the Second World War, and puts their grandsons through some of the training their grandfathers experienced. Although 55,000 of the airmen were killed in action and a further 10,000 became prisoners of war, the veterans of Bomber Command were never awarded a campaign medal. Created by makers of Wife Swap, the show intersperses interviews with veterans with footage of young men today finding out if they have what it takes to serve in a bomber crew.
My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé
A girl announces to her parents that she is planning to marry Steve, a "Prince Not-So-Charming". Over six episodes they act out the build-up to the wedding, including the engagement party and visits from the wedding planner, while Steve behaves as appallingly as he can. If 23-year-old Randi, a first-grade teacher from Arizona can make it through to the wedding ceremony and the "I do's", she wins a million pounds. In a twist, Randi believes that Steve, like her, is a reality-show contestant, but he and his "family" are actors.
The Littlest Groom
Hosted by the former Word presenter Dani Behr, this dating show plumbed new depths when it aired in America earlier this year. The digital channel Bravo is preparing to screen it here in September. It features Glen, a 23-year-old 4ft 5in man in search of love, who is paired with a range of possible spouses - all of whom are short. A twist sees him matched with three gorgeous women of average height. The US press ran gag headlines about how reality TV had reached a new low, but The Hollywood Reporter kept its criticism highbrow: " The Littlest Groom ... embodies wretched taste on so many levels that it's difficult to convey it fully."
Donald Trump became an unlikely TV star in the US thanks to The Apprentice, in which contestants vied for a $250,000 (£136,000) position overseeing the building of a 90-storey tower block. Each week Trump set a number of tasks, ranging from selling lemonade on street corners to renovating apartments, before announcing to an unsuccessful candidate: "You're fired". Nearly 28 million Americans tuned in to watch the final of the show on NBC, when Trump told a former online cigar salesman: "You're hired". The US version will be broadcast on BBC2 in the autumn, followed next year by a UK adaptation starring Sir Alan Sugar.
Two teams of seven men and women are sent to sea on a 19th-century ship on a 1,950 mile journey in this ITV1 show. While contestants have been chosen because they have a taste for the sea, none of them realise beforehand that they will be sailing on an antique vessel. They experience the hardships of mariners of yore, enduring challenges to compete for rewards including shore leave, extra rations and extra sleep, all under the eye of a ferocious captain. Participants are eliminated each week from week three, missing out on the chance to reach the island of paradise and pocket a cash prize.
Make Me A Mum
A thousand men compete to donate their sperm to father a child. Over the series, a woman whittles down the list of contestants based on their suitability to father her child: intelligence, wealth, health and sex appeal. When only two contestants remain, the show moves on to a race between the finalists' sperm to fertilise an egg. It sounds lurid, and there was outrage when news of the format leaked. But, the programme is no more than a twinkle in a television executive's eye. It arose from a brainstorming session for Brighter Pictures, a UK subsidiary of Endemol and has not been commissioned.
And the imposter is: Kiss And Sell
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