Friday, January 31, 2003

Reality TV Coasts To A New Era

In today’s television market, reality shows such as American Idol, Temptation Island, Joe Millionaire, and Survivor dominate the Nielsens and the advertising dollars. Still, producers are always hard at work looking to find a new spin on the trend in order to keep the genre fresh and the revenue flowing in. This spring, Fox Network will continue targeting large and influential markets with a decidedly coaster enthusiast-influenced set of reality shows.

The first of the new breed of reality shows to debut will be Dork Island, which, while not totally coaster-based, will feature an enthusiast amongst its cast. Says Fox representative Ryan Swank, “A widely diverse group of complete and utter wankers will face off in a series of tests and games each week, after which the Geek Council will meet to throw one member off the island. An added bonus will be the fact that, when the contestant is removed from play, he will actually be locked in a room with his old (or current) high school bullies, who will be free to mock and administer wedgies to him on camera. Dork Island will feature a guy who collects Star Wars dolls, a Magic card player, this Goth dude who pretends he’s a vampire, a D&D Gamemaster, this putz who runs 50 different sports fantasy leagues, a MSTie, a computer games tester, and of course a coaster enthusiast. The show will begin in late February.”

Says enthusiast Jack Bauer, “they better not have gotten some enthusiast who likes crappy coasters. I bet he says Beast is his favorite. That (obscenity) probably even likes Boomerangs.”

Other media watchdogs are also wary of the new show. “Fox sucks worse than a night in a Bantha stable,” said Pete Budryk, a Star Wars enthusiast. “How real is a reality show if they don’t get the facts right? They actually have a Dork Island without including Trekkies? Those guys are the real goobers. I’ll bet Fox wouldn’t be thinking the True Fans were ‘dorks’ if Kir Kanos was trying out some Echani moves on their asses.”

Budryk also added that he, for one, does not collect Star Wars dolls. “They’re twelve inch pose-able action figures. Get it right.”

Premiering in late April will be Fox’s first show devoted entirely to coaster enthusiasts. American Coaster Designer will follow a format similar to the current, American Idol. Thirty-two unknown coaster designers will be featured in auditions, performances, and showcases, with the winner receiving money and a contract to design a new roller coaster at Castles and Coasters Park in Arizona. Online voting determines who is removed weekly.

Aside from seeing the exploits of the bold young wanna-be stars, interest in the show is helped with the use of charismatic judges. Head judge Simon Cowell delights audiences by cruelly insulting the designers. In a preview clip shown to reviewers, Cowell is heard to inform one designer, “These banked curves bring shame upon the human race,” “This ride looks like a pile of horse excrement,” and “You are the single worst coaster designer in the history of the planet.” Other judges are Stan Checketts of S&S, Gravity Group’s Larry Bill, and Thrillride’s Bob Coker.

Not yet in production, but tentatively scheduled for an early summer run of 10 shows is Joe Coaster Enthusiast, where 30 gold-digging whores compete for the attentions and hand in marriage of Walter Bolliger of B&M, one of the world’s most respected coaster firms. The twist Fox plans for this show is to trick the whores into thinking a New York enthusiast with a simian-level intellect, a GeoCities website, and no employment is actually Walter Bolliger.

Says Swank, “When one of those money grubbing sluts finds out that instead of bedding and wedding one of the world’s preeminent coaster technicians, she’s actually offering herself to a complete moron, who, incidentally, thinks the Chiller is the best ride ever created, sparks are sure going to fly!”