How about 300 million reality TV shows?
John de Mol, the producer who brought you "Big Brother" and "Fear Factor," has a plan to let U.S. viewers figure out the next backbiting, game, and/or aspirational reality show.
It's not enough that TV viewers lazily watch everyday lives in reality TV shows. Now those lazy reality show producers want viewers to figure out new reality programs for producers to use.
John de Mol's Talpa Media Group has launched a Web site, TalpaCreative.com, where reality fans can send in ideas. "There are 300 million people in the U.S. A few hundred of them must be able to come forward with a good idea," de Mol told Daily Variety.
This isn't necessarily philanthropy on the part of viewers. If a reality show hits, those viewers can receive financial benefits.
Whew! Thank God. For a moment I thought TV producers finally figured out a way to bring down their production costs to almost zero, with almost no risk.
Of course, that could be a consideration in the future. With the way TV ratings are headed, TV production executives should put the onus on TV viewers. If not, they should threaten to close up shop.
Look at the way CBS handled "Jericho." This network asked fans of the show to do some grassroots promotion for it to survive for a second season. Ratings results revealed they didn't do their job well.
Look at the way CW handled Sunday night. The viewers didn't show up. So it sold off its prime-time schedule because it couldn't financially make a go of it.
Now reality shows are seemingly tapped out--and TV producers are looking for those accountable. They are essentially calling viewers in their offices and treating them as if they are overworked staffers, asking, "What have you got for me?"