Estimated reading time: 2 minutes —
The gigantic proportion of the enterprise made all participants, investors, sponsors and silent partners anticipate an enormous success. Unique in its rules, the format gave way to an even more blunt approach to reality television. Simple and crude, the show featured a group of men and women, young and old who, after being dropped in a contained but vast area, tried to survive by killing the others.
John was a bit suspicious though. As a matter of fact, he was vehemently against the whole idea. Although he was a top producer, he had no power to make final decisions at an executive level.
After long and highly secretive meetings to coordinate every detail of the show, the day of the première finally came.
The monitors buzzed with activity. An exaggerated number of people hurried back and forth to get things ready, most of them simply wasting time. John stood at the door of the production-control room.
When the show started, the presenter detailed the rules, the audience in the studio roared. The players were dropped, one by one, in the survival area. “Let the game begin!”
John frowned, waiting.
The first death occurred almost immediately. The ratings skyrocketed. A second death sent everyone in the room into a deep silence. This was worrying. It was going too fast. A third death happened when one of the players tripped and got his foot stuck between a rock and a heavy trunk, making him an easy target.
The phones started ringing. “Here we go,” thought John. “We are going to be butchered for letting people kill one another live on TV.”
A fourth death topped the first 15 minutes of the show. One third of the contestants were now dead. The show was supposed to last a week.
Callers from around the world complained violently. It was unacceptable, a true scandal. John knew this would happen. He knew that this money-making show would have catastrophic consequences, probably even an array of lawsuits and jail time.
“What are they saying?” he asked.
The production-assistant took the phone off the hook for a few seconds. “They say this is not new.”
Much to John’s surprise, spectators were not calling about the extreme violence, the useless deaths or the totally pathetic presenter, screaming his lungs out in an ecstatic crescendo. They were calling, because this format had been inspired in a book that ended up becoming a film a few years back. They wanted something new, fresh, not a remake of a book/film idea turned into a TV show.
That afternoon, John handed in his resignation. He packed a backpack and went up to the mountains with his dog, never to come back to the glittering world of live television.