ornate line
How I'd Change Television
There are some truly excellent programs on television. (30 Rock, The Office, The Colbert Report, etc...) However, these shows are often eclipsed by the type of shows that make you want to face punch a small animal. I'm talking about programs that cater to the lowest common denominator; people who lack the intelligence to peel an orange. Men and women who think hard hitting news involves Lindsey Lohan's breasts.

I spent almost ten years working in television and I learned a thing or two. (Most importantly: don't work in television.) With this knowledge, I thought I'd list how I'd improve popular television shows to make them truly interesting to watch.

We can all thank Survivor for kick-starting reality television. (Yes, The Real World came first, but Survivor brought it mainstream.) The idea worked. The show was successful. But seven years later, we're getting bored of the same old thing. Sure, they throw gimmicks in each year but none that make it truly engaging television. And with the rising popularity of Man vs. Wild and Survivor Man, Survivor seems a bit easy.

Let's take the games out of the equation. Let's take the cameramen and the host out of it too. Take 12 people, put them on an island with no food and no water, and see what happens. Throw hidden cameras around the island and suddenly it's Lord of the Flies meets The Truman Show. When we get bored of the same old fishing/sun bathing/building fire exercises, throw some wild boars into their campground. Kidnap someone. Put them on an island with an erupting volcano. Each participant will be equipped with a "panic button." The last person to hit their's wins $1,000,000. I'd watch every single week.

American Idol
Could it be that the ratings juggernaut is waning? Is American Idol on the decline? It's hard to take the most popular show on television, with a format that has stayed tried and true, and re-do it. (Why fix what ain't broke?) The fact of the matter is, people will (are) get bored of American Idol eventually. So figure out what the best part of the show is and capitalize on it. While you may say American Idol works because, at least in the beginning, you get to watch untalented hacks chop their way through Somewhere Over the Rainbow. And while schadenfreude makes the world go 'round, the real gem in American Idol's crown is Simon.

The show is Simon. No one would watch without the man. He says the things you only wish you could say. He's pompous, he's witty, and you're not really sure he gives two shits. What I would do is take real pop stars, musicians with recording contracts, and have Simon critique them. So instead of saying, "we'll help you get into the music business" the show will be about getting these artists to the next level. And who wouldn't want to see famous musical acts getting critiqued on the show at the hands of Simon? I'm sure he's got opinions about everyone. And what would be the payoff for the participant? How about a three record deal and a worldwide tour?

This show is the weakest in the brand's repertoire. Personally, I blame it on Law & Order. They've cornered the market on New York cop shows. Obviously, if Gary Sinise used his sunglasses to make a point the way David Caruso does, we'd have a hit on our hands. But, in reality, they need to take the show out of New York.

The program is fighting an uphill battle trying to compete against the L&O franchise. Why not take the show to small town America? Granted, you don't have the population in rural American that you'd have in the bigger cities, but that doesn't mean there isn't crime. Keep your Las Vegas and Miami, but give us CSI:Heartland. Too often, television networks forget about fly-over country. They don't remember that half their audience can't exactly relate to a subway mugging.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Those bastards at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition have done it again. They made me get emotional. I had to mask my watery eyes in front of my roommate by faking a yawn. This program finds people with lives so terrible that they make me feel like shit for being able to read and wipe my own ass. (Sometimes at the same time) But I think they should go a step further.

Why not get a family with serious problems. Screw the blind people and the kids with dead parents. Get the family that has a father in the Klan and a daughter who got knocked up by an African American guy. Get raw. Take the guy who just has a head and a spine and build him a house with rollercoaster tracks to cart his mangled body around. Take a homeless person and build them a multi-million dollar home and watch the ratings rise as all of America enjoys him taking a piss in the corner of his brand-new billiard room. At the end of the show, instead of giving away a scholarship or cash, pay to get the daughter an abortion. That will get ratings, though good luck getting sponsors.

I've been drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid of Lost long enough. I've bought into the plot-twists, the new characters, the flashbacks/flashforwards, and I'm ready for some damn answers. What used to be the number one show on television has fallen in the ranks. We need to move forward. We need to know that the time we've invested was for a purpose.

Each time one of the characters is about to ask an incredibly important question, don't skip to a commercial, don't create a distraction in the jungle, and don't have the other character say something crappy like "Now is not the time for you to know that."

We've all got ideas on how to improve the shows on television. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Fix the problem of the racist grandfather by aborting the black father's baby? How very Margaret Sanger of you! I think we all know the organization that will be willing to sponsor that episode. (Hint, Margaret Sanger founded it, and it's willing to accept donations earmarked for just the purpose you envision).

said joebob on May 9, 2008 2:38 PM.

I suppose Extreme Makeover: Home Edition brought to you by Planned Parenthood does have a nice ring to it.

said Echowood on May 9, 2008 3:20 PM.

I have been saying something similar about Survivor for years. I'd go a step further. Give them arrows, spears, maybe toss in a firearm or two (with the ammo someplace else so they have to look for it), and let it rip. Whoever is left standing (literally) or mostly standing (crawling is fine) after wiping out the others, wins. Problem with Survivor? Not gritty or gruesome enough. Right now, it's just a camping trip with a bunch of whiny brats. Get Winchester rifles or Smith & Wesson to sponsor (or Glock, if so inclined).

I can see the ads now: Use the winner as spokesperson, "when lost in Borneo and trying to survive, my Glock got them everytime. Even when wet, I was able to shoot that bastard coming for me with his spear right between the eyes. Remember: if you want to get out alive, pack your Glock."

Now THAT would be great TV.

said Dances With Books on May 9, 2008 4:15 PM.

How about American Idol in reverse. Take 10 singers, each week the best gets eliminated, leaving the worst. In the final the "winner" gets their vocal chords frozen.

Plus - it's about time we got the real version of no-holds barred Rollerball.

said Scaramouch on May 10, 2008 11:04 PM.

My quick fix for every reality show is to raise the stakes a bit. Right now, there are no consequences for losing. This could be remedied by having eliminated contestants suffer a baseball bat to the knee.

Imagine, all the contestants line up and a judge walks back and forth in front of them, then suddenly shatters the kneecap of the person selected for elimination.

said Rob on May 13, 2008 9:37 AM.

... a volcano ... God do I love that word... and veritable, and cluster fuck... Holy shit the volcano erupted and caused a veritable cluster fuck of epic proportions! I heart words...

Take the pansy asses from AI who loose and throw them on Survivor as slaves to the people there and make the Survivor losers sing on Idol, while carrying around the idol from survivor and wearing a tutu.

Gary Sinease looks like if he just had time to take a poop he would be able to fight crime better, give the man some pepto.

Lost... the bane of my existence and the reason I have a pulse...

Firstly, 'the Island' should be called something a hellovalot more creative than the fucking Island, honestly, fucking writers, naming everything else something good but the goddamn focal point of the show just gets 'the Island'? Honestly...

Every goddamn time Locke says 'The Island' it should flash to a picture of a puppy so the audiences blood pressure will not escalate.

Whenever Jack says anything about 'doing it together' they should flash to Sawyer and Hurley getting it on.

Whenever Kate, or any of the fucking broads on that show says 'Jack' in a dramatic way, he should moon them.

Sawyer should be required to have his shirt off all the time, what the fuck does he need to wear one for anyway, his shirts are constantly getting ripped or wet of dirty, yes, very dirty, and he's gonna have to take 'em off anyway.

Hurley needs to lose some weight, really, how fat can you stay on that island? It's supposed to heal and shit, right?

Claire needs to stop fucking saying 'my baby'. I can no longer hear someone talking about their baby and saying 'my baby'without wincing on the inside.

Ben needs to do something about his fucking thyroid so his eyes will go maybe, I dunno, half way into his head. Really, again with the healing shit...

Move the Island? What in gods holy fuckness does that mean? I can't wait to see that shit explained... Physically? Emotionally? With a Michal Bolton song?

Fucking Echo's brother, we never got enough to explain that shit. He just pops up like a boner at a strip club all the time.

Shadow Monster? Can we talk about Shadow Monster? I feel bad for Shadow Monster, he should have gotten a much cooler name, like Black Cloud of Impending Doom and Mass Destruction. Fucking Shadow Monster... honestly, when it comes to naming shit the writers must have needed to poop or something so they got through that part quick.

How did any of the boat people survive Black Cloud of Impending Doom and Mass Destruction? BCOIDAMD (see even the acronym is cool, is says DAMD, how much more true can that be I ask of you?) was on a mission vengeance from Daddy Ben whom, I think, controls BCOIDAMD with his head all ESP style.

I swear to fucking god if they keep answering damn questions with questions I will have to keep watching the show which might be my demise when my head explodes, its a dichotomy of epic proportions. Brain matter will be lodged in odd places for miles around and children will be playing with it in their backyard.

I work in the woods in Sussex Co. I think I'm gonna go in early and try to find a bear cub to pick up and pet. At least that way I'll know what kinda hurt is coming at me and I can't watch tomorrows episode on account of deadness.

said Jeni Gump on May 14, 2008 6:01 PM.
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