Baghdad, Iraq - Aljazeera TV ratings winner Iraq's Next Top Hangman (INTH) is in it's 8th cycle this year with 2006 set to be bigger than ever. Just days after Saddam Hussein was sentenced to hang, Iraqi officials have agreed to hand over the tyrant to INTH producers for the final execution episode to be broadcast live on 15 December.
Although Iraq has come to a standstill for every season finale prior to now, ratings are expected to go through the roof like never before this time around. Only 4 young hopeful gallows technicians remain from the original 13. These young men were all members of Saddam's now disbanded Ba'ath party and have indicated to the media today they would consider it an honour to pull the lever on their crazy old boss.
Local pundits are putting their money on two favourites, Mohammed Z, who week-by-week has demonstrated perfect hygiene and attention to detail, and Mohamed Muhammad who has surprised the viewers with his in-depth medical and carpentry knowledge. Internationally, it is the latter who is the one and only clear favourite.
The aspiring hangmen are currently bailed up in the INTH penthouse in an artistic pocket of inner city Baghdad keeping their focus on the big prize. Next week's episode will test their abilities to stay emotionally detached, personal style and gallows technique when they will each be allocated a beggar to kill.
As Saddam's fate draws near, word on the ground is that the final episode will soften even the hardest of hearts with speculation gaining momentum that many Iraqi men may even concede to allowing their women to tune in.
Internationally, cable and satellite television subscribers will be able to watch this exciting event live in the comfort of their homes. A close friend of the President has also said, "Even George W Bush himself will be tuning in from the Whitehouse, cold beer in hand!".
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