Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Back to Reality

The real world imposes itself on the so called Reality TV industry:
A contestant in "The Contender" a new NBC reality series about boxing scheduled to start next month, committed suicide yesterday in Philadelphia, network executives said last night.
The New York Times article continues:
Mr. [Najai] Turpin's suicide recalled an incident that almost derailed "Survivor," [executive producer Mark] Burnett's first hit reality show and the one that ignited the reality trend in American television. A contestant in the first version of the show, which was made for Swedish television and was not produced by Mr. Burnett, committed suicide after he was the first person voted off the island.

The incident stirred concerns about the risks of reality television, and led Mr. Burnett to conduct extensive psychological tests on his contestants.
Hmmm. Extensive psychological tests. Well, even baseball players are successful if they get a hit in 3 out of 10 times at bat. We can take comfort that NBC has assured us that Mr. Turpin's suicide had nothing to do with the stress and anxiety of being on a nationally broadcast television show. You can read the entire article here (free registration required).