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October 10, 2015

Charity doesn't make for better TV

by Michael Pascua, posted Jun 8th 2009 2:04PM
The contestants of I'm A Celebrity quickly get out of the tank.I can't watch I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! The show is basically Big Brother but with an unwillingness to compete. Why do celebrities sign up for physically and mentally demanding reality shows when they don't want to compete? I'm looking at you, Dustin Diamond. To attempt to get some viewer sympathy, the celebrities are playing for charity. I feel bad for the charities that Heidi and Spencer have because I wouldn't want their douchebag antics associated with the charity's image.

Celebrity reality shows can succeed without having to play the charity card. It's all about maintaining the quality level.

There were two celebrity-based shows that aired last spring: Dancing with the Stars and The Celebrity Apprentice 2. DWTS went the route of paying their celebrities, paying more than $250,000 to the winner Shawn Johnson. The Celebrity Apprentice 2 did pay the celebrities for appearance fees, but Annie Duke lost even though she raised the most money. There are other criteria (business savvy, presentation, and the fact that the Don had a hard-on for Joan Rivers) that get put into the equation, but money is important. Dancing with the Stars garnered both better celebrities (even their replacements were a decent caliber) and higher ratings. In the end, you get what you pay for.

The advantage The Celebrity Apprentice 2 had over I'm A Celebrity is that the celebrities used their celebrity (except for Jesse James) to make money. I'm a Celebrity contestants just hope for America to save them. This format failed for Big Brother, which eventually tweaked the rules so America could mess with their house life, but not their evictions. A person like Janice Dickinson can survive longer just because America knows she's drama.

A great example of a celebrity that didn't compete for charity, but was a blast to watch was Kathy Griffin on Celebrity Mole: Hawaii. You knew that she was a fan of the game, but her lack of athleticism and her snark on her fellow contestants made for television gold. It was also rumored that she used some of her money to further her adventures in plastic surgery. Also notable was the Woz on DWTS. He may not have been the best, but his childlike enthusiasm was addictive.

Fast forward to the summer and we have Lou Diamond Philips playing against reality star has-beens and some random people. I have no clue who Torrie Wilson is, but then again I didn't know who Stacey Keibler was and she won me over with her dancing skills. Other than the quitting couple (that mysteriously continue to quit and still stay on the show) no one has stood out at all. I will be shocked if Philips doesn't win, because he is high caliber enough to be a DWTS contestant (if Steve Gutenberg was on DWTS, Philips could have been).

After week one, most of the celebrities half-assed the competitions and just lay around. That doesn't make for good television. The celebrities could do better for a charity by listening to Sandra Lee and throwing a bake sale. In the end it doesn't matter if celebrities are playing for a charity, it's all about correct tasks, passion, and caliber of celebrity involved. I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! fails in all the categories.

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To underscore your point, the charity Patti Blago wanted to play for has already announced that they are refusing the money ( http://www.bearnecessities.org/ ). It is a terrific charity that fights pediatric cancer. The refusal isn't because the show sucks, but still...

June 08 2009 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil Leitch

The last American attempt at this series was much better if memory serves. Like you say, this time around they don't really seem to be trying outside of Lou, Sanjaya and Patti.

Bad selection of celebrities I think is what we have here.

June 08 2009 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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