Thursday, August 05, 2004

Do you have a big personality, are aged between 18 and 30 and "up for a laugh"? Well please stop reading this website (there's nothing here for you) and head to beonscreen.com the new digitial casting couch where you can be cattle called to appear on a wide variety of new reality tv shows and quizzes. It's my new favourite/worst website. Looking down the full list of programmes in development that require constestants/partipants, it becomes clear what the nation's obsessions and preoccuptions are. Makeovers, holidays, home improvements, families swapping, fat people, plastic surgery, cleanliness, dating, being very posh or very common, marriage - they're all recurring themes. Here are my favourite calls:

1970s Office: We are looking for twelve Advertising Creatives to be part of a new Reality based Entertainment show for Sky 1 called 1970s Office... For two weeks, the team will live and work without any trappings of 21st century technology.

Britain's Fattest Pets Do you have a podgy pooch? A hefty hamster? A beefy bunny? Or is your cat too fat for its cat flap?

Cleaner Than Clean: ITV are looking for a family where mum (or dad) are the cleanest people you have ever met? Are you extremely house proud and just like Monica from 'Friends'?

Gay Health and Fitness experts wanted. Endemol UK Productions are looking for two gay men to front a television series and use their professional skills to mould fat families into shape. If you have the right background and are sharp, witty and perceptive, we would like to hear from you.

What becomes shockingly clear from the list, however, is how simply derivative and imagination-lacking these "ideas" for new shows are. TV clearly isn't particularly ground-breaking or creative. Instead, it seems that if you put a group of tv execs in a Soho restaurant, give them all a little bit too much cocaine and tell them to brainstorm some ideas, all they can come up with are variations on what they saw on last night's telly. I'm sorry, but most of these formats are tired and crap. They're not only scraping the bottom of the barrel, they've gone through it and are now digging into the earth.

How about these "concepts" which I made up:

That's My Paedophile - victims of child abuse confront/stalk/maim the people who abused them years ago. It's all very cathartic. You must be aged between 18-30, attractive, bubbly and "up for it".

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on the game? We are looking for 6 extroverted lads and lasses (18-25) who want to take part in our game-show "Prostitute" (working title). How much money can you make in 48 hours? The winner gets a camper van.

King of the Sauna: Are you a homophobic man? Would you like to run a gay sauna for 2 weeks and make new discoveries? We are making a documentary and would like to hear from you.

It's only a matter of time...

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