1516 Debate Idol
Fox TV is missing a chance to make political faceoffs fun again. Fox is host to the first of the Republican presidential debates and has limited the number of candidates who can appear to ten.
While that’s a good number since presently there are 16, Fox is missing a great chance to cross- promote and shore up one of its historically big programs, the former ratings titan now stumbling into its final season, “American Idol.”
In its infancy and adolescence, Idol was the pacesetter for all the imitators who followed. The formula was simple:
Gather three judges and a plastic parody of a 1970s radio disc jockey. Hold auditions for singers (the louder the better.) Make fun of the bad ones and eliminate them. Put the top few in a climactic battle of the bands and let the public vote on who is best.
So, the proposal is simple. Have someone like Ryan Seacrest parade the candidates before three judges like Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
Eventually, boil the roster down to, say, four. And let the public vote by phone, internet and text message.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Santorum, that’s three ‘nos’” says Randy, “you’re eliminated.”
“I love the part where you chainsaw through a copy of the tax code, Rand” but you’re not ready,” says Paula.
“What’s that silly thing on your head, Donald?” asks Simon.
Of course with all the remaining musical contest shows on TV, we’re practically out of washed up show biz types to play judge. Maybe we should think in terms of interesting washed up politicians.
How about Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Bob Dole, Ross Perot, Rudolph Giuliani, Herman Cain or Rod Blagojevich if he can get out of jail on work release.
But we also share the joy of those who pass the auditions. Picture Jeb smiling broadly and crashing out of the swinging doors to the audition studio proudly holding his “pass” pass to the cheers of his gathered relatives… Barbara, W, Laura, and adoring wife Columba along with friends like Rove, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney.
Debate Idol would give us a much more interesting series of programs. And it would be much easier to eliminate the fake contenders.
When Kimberly Litterbug, 15, from Logan Falls, Minnesota forgets the words to Bah Bah Black Sheep on camera or sings “One Note Samba’s” one note off key, she’s eliminated.
When Rick Perry forgets which federal departments he’s going to eliminate, he’s eliminated.
Then, Fox calculates and you decide.
--Employee- Owned Nikkei’s $1.8 billion acquisition of the Financial Times newspaper gives them a true international presence. The cost is much more than the paper is worth. But they’re going to make it work and you can bet that newsroom won’t shrink like so many others.
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I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015