There are 10 things every good reality TV show needs to be successful.
- A concept that captivates an audience
- Contestants with salacious pasts
- Those same contestants willing to do or say anything for attention
- One star who wins the popular vote amongst your audience
- A series of events that bring out the best and worst of the contestants
- Social media content to engage the audience online
- Buzzworthy moments that go viral
- A clever elimination process
- An insightful, witty host
- A grand prize that will change one lucky contestant’s life forever
So what is the greatest reality competition show ever? Survivor? The Amazing Race? Big Brother? The Biggest Loser? American Idol? The Voice?
These days one show’s been trumping them all. Here’s the synopsis.
The most powerful title in America awaits one lucky candidate in this groundbreaking reality competition series. A group of obnoxious, well to do bureaucrats will engage in a series of political debates and events to gain favor with the American people. One by one they’ll be eliminated from the campaign trail as funds run out, scandals are uncovered, and rallies go unattended. As the series culminates with the popular vote*, one lucky hopeful will reach the pinnacle of political standing as the President of The United States of America.
*Unless the Electoral College thinks otherwise
The race for the 2016 American Presidency is the greatest reality competition show ever. It might be the most important. It’s certainly the most groundbreaking. Why didn’t I come up with this pitch? Mark Burnett wouldn’t have anything on me! I’d be bringing a production company the most talked about, over-analyzed, viral programming this side of the Super Bowl. It’s a multi-network, multimedia platform bonanza hosted by the best commentators television has to offer. I’d be a millionaire!
And I still wouldn’t have enough to run for office myself.
Now if you think this is all a joke that’s the problem. This is a race to be the next “Leader of the Free World”. This is the most prestigious and important job America has to offer. Yet major news outlets have interactive scoreboards online like you see on reality show home pages. We’re soaking up political twitter wars between candidates like they were pop stars.
But every good reality show needs that one character that’s going to stir up drama in the house leading to fights, tears, and your teases during act breaks.
Na. Too old
Na. Too Bush
What about Donald Trump?
He’s already a Reality TV star thanks to 14 seasons of The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice (aka. my career’s over and Dancing With The Stars didn’t call). We’ll just call this The Presidential Apprentice. Maybe when he’s President he’ll finally get to trademark “you’re fired”.
That’s your current Republican front runner folks! And talk is cheap for major media outlets to generate ratings with.
Oh but he’s a great businessman.
Yeah so are the Kardashians. They make millions of dollars every year for doing nothing. Should they be President?
But Trump speaks to the Reality TV generation and so far his approach has worked to the befuddlement of everybody else reading from “Running A Presidential Campaign 101”. He’s being “himself” like all of our favorite reality stars turned celebrities and Halloween costumes. He’s not playing it safe. He opens his mouth and his truth comes out. He’s the anti-politician surrounded by paint-by-numbers politicians who aren’t charismatic enough to overtake “The Donald”.
And how angry do all those other Republican candidates have to be? The dozen of them all thought this was their year. Their political ambitions would finally come to fruition in a wide-open race of nobodies. Somebody has to win. Though quality over quantity doesn’t seem to be a slogan for the Republican Party these days.
Every reality competition has to start with an equal playing field but in this game Trump has an advantage. He’s a different kind of candidate and people are responding to it. Will he actually win? Who knows. Could he do some good? Sure. If congress let’s him. One thing’s for sure. He knows how to stay relevant in the news and it’s helped him in the polls. But when did having a cavalier personality become a Presidential qualification?
Is our overzealous appetite for media consumption, soundbites, and a good old fashioned reality tv train wreck to blame?
Or is this the future of our election process? A group of social media propogandists competing for likes and shares with no fundamental understanding of what it is they’re saying.
This isn’t reality TV. This is real life. But if the line has been blurred then America may have to be ready for a reality TV President. For nothing else, the next 10 months will be must see television.