From the WaPo, 4/7/09...gotta love it
Sacked Employees To Provide Fox with Ratings -- Everyone Wins!
Coming to Fox: a reality series in which actual companies that are struggling to stay afloat in this lousy economy agree -- presumably in exchange for money -- to let their staffs decide which among them is going to get pink-slipped to save money.
To populate its new "Lord of the Flies"-esque series, "Someone's Gotta Go," Fox has lined up actual companies -- smaller, Dunder Mifflin-esque-sized (15-20 employees) ones -- having financial difficulties.
In each case, the company's boss or owner will call all the employees together and tell them someone's going to get laid off. But rather than the boss/owner making the decision, he or she will instead give the employees all the available information about one another -- salaries, job evaluations, etc. -- and let the employees decide who will get pink-slipped.
Fox -- or at least its genius/madman head of reality-TV Mike Darnell, whom no one over there seems willing or able to reign in -- thinks people will flock to this show. Because it is about -- wait for it -- wish fulfillment. Because we've all been there when someone -- we'll call them Mister A -- once again cons their way out of getting shown the door at our place of employment, while poor old hard-working slob -- Mister B -- gets the old heave ho, and wished we were in charge so it hadn't played out that way.
We called Darnell to ask how, among other things, Fox is handling the legal quagmire when it comes to revealing details of employees' personal evaluations, etc. on national TV. He declined to comment.
Fox's latest effort in the art of television programming was developed, and is being sold internationally, by Dutch-based production company Endemol, who also brings us CBS's "Big Brother," which used to seem mean-spirited and skanky, but which suddenly looks quaint and charming.
An Endemol spokeman told a Reuters reporter in Amsterdam the new show "will be an interesting experiment." The reporter, in turn, likened "Someone's Gotta Go" to NBC's "The Apprentice" -- to which this new show bears virtually no resemblance, in that the "employees" of The Donald are fake, and when he shouts "You're fired!" they're not losing their actual jobs, they're only losing a made-for-TV competition.
By Lisa de Moraes | April 7, 2009; 4:59 PM ET
A Vital Endeavor
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