Jobless Get Their Own Reality TV Show Tue Oct 8, 5:27 AM ET
By Mary Sutter
MIAMI (Variety) - A controversial Argentinean reality TV show that pits unemployed people against each other could soon be adapted for TV stations around the world.
Sony Pictures Television Intl. has acquired the international format rights to "Human Resources" (Recursos humanos) in which jobless contestants compete for jobs, cash, prizes and employee benefits. Critics claim the show makes light of the tragedy of unemployment.
The hourlong game show airs live weekdays and has struck a chord in a country where half the population is out of work. Studio audiences and at-home viewers choose which of the two candidates is best qualified for the job up for grabs each weekday. Sony claims the show has awarded more than 184 new jobs to local contestants in 91 broadcasts.
The studio acquired the rights from indie production company Imagen Real and will pitch the format to buyers at the Mipcom TV market in Cannes this week.
Similar formats, such as Hong Kong's "Job Matchmaker," are already out there; German cable channel Neun Live is prepping an unnamed show along the same lines. Before it even airs, critics are denouncing it as exploitative.
Sony defended its new acquisition.
"In addition to its truly feel-good outcome, 'Human Resources' also imparts valuable insights and guidance for anyone who will ever be looking for work," said Steve Kent, the studio's executive VP of international productions. "It's a show where everybody wins, because even the losing contestant earns something which is a big help when you're unemployed."
"Human Resources" awards all contestants with health benefits just for being on the show as well as scholarships, home appliances and cash.