Reality Shows Take One Small Step for Mankind, One Giant Grasp for Better Ratings

Written by Mark Sides

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

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Television networks, NBC, CBS and ABC, jointly announced today an aggressive new marketing strategy aimed at recouping lost viewership to cable TV and other media. Beginning with the Fall 2010 season, all three networks will begin airing reality-show fund-raisers in a contest format.

Each new show will have contestants selected based on background, education and target-audience suitability and consist of initially twelve segments filmed at relevant locations which illustrate the subject matter at hand.

Contestants will compete by pitching their ideas and soliciting donations in live segments broadcast to the American viewing audience, who will then be given a donation code they can text by phone, which will register their donation in the name of that contestant.

After twelve weeks, the contestant with the most donations wins a million dollars in cash, with the remaining net profit going to charities of the contestant's choice. Network executives anticipate a stampede of corporate sponsors eager to associate their products with worthwhile causes.

Here are some of the fund-raising reality shows which are in the pipeline for the 2010 fall season, set to air in prime time on all three networks:

  1. "Who Wants to End World Hunger?"
  2. "Who Wants to Stop Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children?"
  3. "Who Wants to Stop Global Warming?"
  4. "Who Wants to End War?"
  5. "Who Wants to End Economic Slavery?"
  6. "Who Wants to Write The Great American Novel?"
  7. "Who Wants to Compose a World-Class Symphony?"
  8. "Who Wants Healthcare Recognized as a Basic Human Right?"
  9. "Who Wants to End Reckless Exploitation of Non-Renewable Resources?"
  10. "Who Wants to End Political Gridlock in Washington, D.C.?"

Asked for a reaction, an anonymous cable TV executive expressed confidence that the new strategy would fail faster than Obama's fair-weather support.

"I mean, be serious," he said. "It's all our network can do to get people to lumber into the kitchen for a bag of Doritos. And they think they can get someone to find their cell phone, type in some frigging math formula that I don't understand, and contribute money to a hunger program in some God-forsaken country like Haiti? Oh, please! That'll never happen."

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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