18 August 2007

Kid Nation on CBS: "Survivor" for Kids

For 40 days in April and May, CBS sent 40 children, ages 8 to 15, to a former ghost town in New Mexico to build a society from scratch. With no access to their parents, not even by telephone, the children set up their own government, laws and society in front of reality television cameras. --- LA Times

This upcoming show on CBS, Kid Nation, is earning the ire of the public. Because it depicts a seemingly Lord of the Flies scenario, people have began screaming "exploitation!" even before it has premiered (September 2007).

Parents are being blamed for allowing their children to join such a reality show. But the mothers and fathers of these kids claim that on the contrary, Kid Nation felt just like summer camp and that despite the concept of "no adults on the show" the set was, in fact, full of them, monitoring the kids round the clock.

CBS is being blamed for using kids for ratings and marketing deals. But while people are busy pointing fingers, CBS is wasting no time. They are already auditioning for Season 2...again, even before the pilot episode premieres (September 2007). To be fair though, there will be no devastating eliminations for this reality show. Kids instead are going to be given points if they do really well in the challenges and the one with the most points stands to win $20,000.

I'm holding judgment until I've actually seen Kid Nation. But one thing's for sure --- I hope no local channel ever attempts to franchise this because I can almost imagine what controversy it will bring.