Reality Television is Getting Out of Control

I just got this message from my friend at Bravo:

From: <removed>
To: klep
Subject: Re: What’s up?

Dude, you think you’re kidding, but they’ve got this reality show thing down to a science. There’s a form that you fill out to propose a new show and it goes through a series of focus groups and meetings to determine if people will watch. I checked and, believe it or not, there is a proposal floating around for a reality show about techies. It’s in Stage D, which means it passsed initial legal and feasibility hurdles, passed a basic survey of potential watchers, and got the initial stamp of approval from the production board. It’s still extremely unlikely that it’ll turn into a real show, but here are some bits from the proposal:

Working Title: America’s Next Top Software Developer

One Line Summary: Twelve computer professionals with different educational and professional backgrounds live in an isolated hacker’s paradise and compete in a series of challenges to earn the grand prize of high paying Vice President of Software Development job.

Potential Games or Challenges: Each episode features a coding challenge and a scavenger hunt. In the coding challenge, contestants are presented with a problem and must come up with a viable software solution in a limited amount of time. For example, the coders might be introduced to a restaurant owner whose ordering system is in desperate need of automation. The contestants randomly choose keyboard keys that each represent a particular programming language. Everybody must write their solution in their randomly-chosen language. In the scavenger hunt, the contestants follow a series of clues to find an immunity processor. The winner wears the immunity processor around their neck and cannot be voted off at the next Council of Nerds.

Potential Host or Personality: Unknown at this time. We would like to avoid a host from the computer industry who may have certain biases and lack of television experience. An actor or actress who is a known computer enthusiast or who has starred in a tech-related movie would be ideal.

Potential Judges or Cameos: Linus Torvalds (creator of Linux) has been approached and expressed interest. Other potential judges include Steve Jobs (Apple), professors from well known Computer Science departments, venture capitalists, other well-known industry leaders.

Give a Short Example of an Episode Summary: On this week’s America’s Next Top Software Developer, Brian decides he’s had enough of Ken’s lousy code and appalling foot odor. A game of Quake goes a bit too far when Jeremy’s headshots get a little too real at the scavenger hunt. And will bits turn into bytes when Jenny and Fred spend some time together in the hot tub?

One Comment

  1. March 23, 2006

    I’m not sure which I find more disturbing – that there are drugs of sufficient power as to convince television executives that this show would be more interesting than, say, America’s Next Dry Paint, or the thought of people watching programmers hooking up in the hot tub. *shudder*

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