Innovations That Matter

Does your company have its own TV show?

Publishing & Media

Reality TV: as long as there's money to be made, the well of new formats won't run dry. Which show will turn out to be the new American Idol or Swedish Big Brother?

Reality TV: as long as there’s money to be made, the well of new formats won’t run dry. Which show will turn out to be the new American Idol or Swedish Big Brother? Well, competing for another job than that of ‘Mega Pop Star’ should be big. NBC’s new reality show The Apprentice will feature approximately 20 contestants (including both Ivy League MBA graduates and street entrepreneurs with no college education), living together in a NY loft and vying for the chance to become an apprentice to a ‘master’. During the first season of The Apprentice, legendary real-estate tycoon Donald Trump will serve as the master and his business empire, The Trump Organization, will be the hub of the competition. Each week Trump will fire one candidate from the contest. In the season’s final episode, one promising and (scarily) ambitious person will emerge supreme and will be awarded a prestigious, year-long dream assignment — and a six-figure salary — that accompanies the status of becoming ‘the apprentice of a master.’ Shooting of the first 13-episode series begins mid-September, and will air around February 2004. (Source: NBC) Not into skyscrapers? Then what about modeling? Reality-contest series America’s Next Top Model, created/produced by super model Tyra Banks, just finished its first series. Ten women underwent a highly accelerated modeling ‘boot camp’, living together in (again!) a swanky New York penthouse, and competing to be voted number one. Mentoring by supermodel Tyra Banks andexposure to high-profile fashion industry gurus are part of the game.The Grand Prize? A Revlon modeling contract and a deal with Wilhelmina Models, in addition to a guaranteed appearance in Marie Claire magazine. In their own words: ‘Participants are asked to demonstrate both inner and outer beauty as they master complicated catwalks, intense physical fitness, fashion photo shoots and publicity skills, all under 24-hour-a-day surveillance of the America’s Next Top Model cameras.’


So, after music idols, real-estate moguls and super models, what about featuring apprentices to high-profile politicians? Nobel prize winning professors? Michelin-star chefs? Egomaniacal advertising honchos? Near-God status surgeons? For those of you who are in television: with celebrity having moved beyond music, sports and movies, this is about finding your own local Donald Trump or Steve Jobs, and giving the masses the thrill of brainy reality.Even better (now that we’ve seen the light): if you’re in any way related to a high-profile company, organization or ‘master’ (think everything from Nike and Microsoft to Warren Buffet, Richard Branson and Kofi Anan), a TV series should become an integral part of your regular marketing strategies and plans!After all, why spend millions on a few TV commercials if you can get an entire series dedicated to your company, your brand and your star employees?OK, one more example: more than 34 million people watched the sixth(!) series of ‘Airline’, London Weekend Television‘s ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at life at British low-fare carrier easyJet. The seventh series just aired this Spring. Need we say more?


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