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"America's Next Top Producer": Has Reality TV Hit a New Low?

I'm a little bit frightened by the news coming out of the (shudder) TV Guide Channel about a show that could very well sound the death knell for the reality TV genre. Okay, maybe not the death knell, but it does send a very clear message that maybe, just maybe, the reality TV biz has run out of ideas.

I'm talking, ladies and gents, about the new 10-hour reality-competition series known as America's Next Top Producer, to be aired on the TV Guide Channel, in which 10 hopefuls compete for the opportunity to become... a reality TV producer. (If this isn't a vicious circle, I don't know what is.)

Contestants will live together in a house and compete for the grand prize: $100,000 in cash, a production office in Hollywood, and a first-look deal with... TV Guide Channel. (Gee, not too blatant self-promotion or anything.)

It's one thing to call a show America's Next Top Producer and have the prize be, say, a production (rather than first-look) deal with a broadcast network like NBC, but can contestants really go on to become a "top" producer after getting someone at fifth-tier cabler TV Guide Channel to maybe consider their reality project? I don't think so.

Even scarier is who is producing this sure-to-be-a-fiasco: Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves, the brilliant producers of reality TV jewels Project Runway and Top Chef.

The series will film in Los Angeles for a weekly primetime slot on TV Guide Channel (which, to be honest, I've never actually watched for even a minute). Auditions are slated to begin February 24th in Chicago, then head to LA on March 10th, and finish up in New York on March 18th.

Is it just me or this quite possibly the worst idea for a reality television series ever? Speaking from personal experience, television development is never a "fun," TV-friendly activity, nor is it particularly interesting to watch from the outside looking in. Watching 10 wannabe producers take $20,000 to film 3-minute pitch reels for reality TV program concepts sounds as interesting to me as watching paint dry.

And, as we all know, that show is already on the air: it's called Top Design.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: How I Met Your Mother/The Class (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Everybody Hates Chris/All of Us (CW); Wife Swap (ABC); Prison Break (FOX); Wicked Wicked Games (MyNet)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/Rules of Engagement (CBS); Heroes (NBC); Girlfriends/The Game (CW); Supernanny (ABC); 24 (FOX); Watch Over Me (MyNet)

10 pm: CSI: Miami (CBS); Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC); What About Brian (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Everybody Hates Chris.

On tonight's episode ("Everybody Hates Cutting School"), Chris and Drew are caught cutting school when they try to go see a movie, Rochelle decides to help out at a book fair, and Julius tries to get his driver's license renewed. It's gonna be one of those days.

8 pm: 24.

It's Day Six of 24. While FOX doesn't give us much in the way of previews, here's what we do know: Chloe is forced to cover for a fellow agent (Morris?), Milo struggles to keep himself and Marilyn alive, and Jack struggles with (say it with me, people) yet another setback.


Anonymous said…
Worst idea ever? No. I don't think so. I think it's silly for tvguide channel to think that anyone cares about tv guide channel, but there have been worse reality show ideas. I won't be watching.
Wow. This really does seem like one of the most boring shows to ever hit the small screen. And sadly, with the writer strike looming over hollywood's head, we will probably be seeing many more horrible reality shows like this one popping up.
Anonymous said…
Hi my name is gloria Query and I think America's Next top producer is a great idea for a new reality show. As a matter of fact i have to tell yuou why i feel this way. I have tried out for a reality show for 7 years and 14 tryouts. I am probably the most popular woman in America to not get on a reality show. Doing 3 minute videos is my hobby.I love formatting comedy 3 minute video. so give me a call for the america's next top producer show cause i am crazy enough to post and ask for it. rad all about me. Gloria query and call me at 757-543-4543
Anonymous said…
I'm in the semi-finals to be one of the 10 contestants. It should be fun!
Anonymous said…

You're crazy to leave your phone number on a blog.

Anyone want to prank her with me?

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