Endemol has excelled even its own proud record of providing “entertainment” in the true tradition of the Roman arena.
It’s about to produce a reality show on Dutch tv where three people who need transplants will compete for the kidney of a dying person.
What can you say? What fun. Life for one winner. Death for 1 person for sure and possible death for the 2 losers.
I had to look at Endemol’s website to see the full range of horrors they are responsible for. I found a page with a list of their Top 10 formats by turnover 2005 (Not updated too often, then.)
Blimey! Not just Big Brother, but also Fear Factor, Who wants to be a Millionaire?, Deal or No Deal, Extreme Makeoever, Star Academy, the Farm.
I don’t know anything about OperaciÃ³n Triunfo (seems to be another pop singing contest), Participation TV (sold on the basis that it costs nothing to make because the public do it, no change from Endemol’s standard USP then) or Cronicas Marcianas (wow, this actually seems to be talk show, with sketches).
But I would hazard a small bet that they are of a quality equal to the ones in the other list. And I genuinely cannot do the depths of the quality of this dross justice in polite (or even totally intemperate, raging, cursing and shaking a tv-smashing stick) English.
Amazingly, people watch this stuff.
There’s a saying that “Noone ever went broke underestimating the taste of the public.” It must be tattooed on the forearms of staff in the Endemol offices, so they can check it all the time in case they accidentally come up with an idea that isn’t demeaning to participants and audience alike and that may cost more than the cost of a camera crew and a couple of studio lights.
But the kidney thing goes over the edge of obscene. And just in case it’s not exploitative enough to turn your stomach, Endemol are presenting it – with no apparent trace of shame – as a public service issue that will draw attention to the shortage of kidney donors in Holland.