Why "I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here!" is doomed to failure:
This show is beginning this week on ABC. ABC is doing several things wrong with "I'm a Celebrity," and dooming it to failure before it even gets off the ground. We really shouldn't even be doing it the favor of providing coverage, but if we didn't cover bad shows, then Star Dates would have been long forgotten.
1. No-name celebrities.
ABC should have realized that you can get away with a small amount of C-list celebrity action when you've got a proven format like The Mole. And even then, you're risking tarnishing the entire franchise by including names no one's heard of. Luckily, at least half the names were recognizable for Celebrity Mole. Not so with this Survivor knock-off. Tyson Beckford? Alana Stewart? Maria Conchita Alonso? Never heard of 'em. Bruce Jenner? Wasn't he on a box of Wheaties or something? How about Nikki Ziering? She at least was on my favorite daytime show, The Price is Right, but I probably couldn't pick her out of a lineup unless she was wearing a swimsuit. If you're going to include the word "Celebrity" in your title, you'd better make sure people recognize the names.
2. Consecutive airdates.
With a weekly show, we can compare it to what's on the other channels, and decide if it's worth a shot. With this extremely odd airing format, ABC is forcing us to make 7 similar choices each week. I guarantee that it won't win at least half of those comparisons. And even at that, no one will want to invest their time in a show they know in advance they'll miss more than half the time. It's a gimmick for February Sweeps, and a poorly-thought-out one at that.
3. Variable start times.
Looking at the scheduled airtimes, I got a headache. This show is not only on every single night, but at a different time each night, virtually guaranteeing that I'll miss every single episode. Even if I wanted to see it, chances are good I'd completely miss it by tuning in too early or late.
4. Too similar to Survivor.
You know you're show's a copycat when there's a long, drawn-out lawsuit involved. ABC got the green light, but maybe should have reconsidered the whole idea as soon as they were served with the subpoena. Airing it now only tells me that they're doing it out of spite. "We won the lawsuit, so we're airing our extremely stupid show just to teach you a lesson, neener neener."
5. ABC is grasping at 'reality' straws.
We all know why reality rules. It's cheap to produce, it's unscripted, it gives us a taste of what we'd be like on TV. It's like crack to the networks. ABC developed their addiction from The Bachelor series, and really went overboard in the last 2 months. I picture an ABC exec on a streetcorner, asking everyone who pulls up if they have a new reality show idea. "Come on, man, I just need a concept!"
So, there you have it. Five reasons why "I'm a Celebrity" is doomed to failure, and in fact should never have seen the light of day. As it stands, it certainly won't see the light of my TV tube, and that's just fine with me. I'll tune back in to ABC when they make a real Mole 3, and pay Anderson Cooper whatever he asks for to come back as the host.
You can reach John, the author, at email@example.com