LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Some TV shows offer an extreme makeover, others a bid for pop stardom. But the hottest reality show in the U.S. Hispanic market is offering the ultimate prize -- a potential green card to immigrants desperate to pursue the American dream.
"Gana la Verde" ("Win the Green") has attracted big audiences and hundreds of contestants willing to eat burritos crammed with live worms, jump off high-speed trucks or wash skyscraper windows in exchange for a year's legal help in speeding up their visa or green card cases.
The show, run five times a week on small Spanish-language television channels in Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston and Dallas, was the brainchild of Lenard Liberman, executive vice president of the independent TV and radio company Liberman Broadcasting.
"When you are in the Hispanic market, you realize that immigration and legal status is the number one issue ... They want to be able to earn a living and not have the pressure of wondering if they are able to stay or not," Liberman said on Thursday.
"We could do a show and give the winner a cash prize, or a toaster oven. But I thought, what would be the ultimate prize for someone living in the United States as an immigrant? ... To have a prestigious law firm handle their case would be something invaluable," he said.