New Reality TV Show – Survivor: White House Edition
CNN was forced to confirm that it was in talks for the development of a new reality series based on the successful Survivor television series. In an ironic twist, an internal CNN memo was leaked to the White House, which in turn published it on Twitter. The memo outlined how the show would follow much of the Survivor format but also highlighted specific differences.
The most obvious change is location, shifting from the usual tropical locale to the West Wing of the White House. Although not technically a far away island, the West Wing will be depicted as an isolated and lonely place where people live in despair, with hopes of someday being rescued.
The team or tribe concept which has worked so successfully on the adventure series will carry over to the new series. Suggestions included Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos versus Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with the tag lines suggested by President Donald Trump, “Survivor White House – Dumb and Dumber.”
Another possible tribe pairing could be Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt vs. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, “Survivor White House – No Ethics vs. No Compassion.”
Another key change is immunity, a key part of the traditional show, will be replaced by unpredictable presidential pardons. Players will secretly seek pardons, but in order to parallel the back-stabbing environment of the White House, when seeking a pardon, each contestant will also have to name a person to be unceremoniously deported. The president will grant pardons randomly, late at night and with no discernible rationale.
Instead of the traditional ceremony with secret voting to see who is removed, the president will send in an ICE strike force late at night to grab a contestant and drag them from the White House. From there, they will be transported to South Texas and held in a large dog kennel until claimed by a family member that can prove their citizenship and immunization records.
Some key themes will still be the same. The memo stressed it was necessary to make a connection with the original and highly successful show’s audience. There will still be both individual and team challenges. Very preliminary possibilities i,clude: 1) resisting a congressional subpoena; 2) invoking the 5th Amendment; 3) convincingly pretending not to remember really important stuff; 4) leaking internal memos; 5) sending federal employees on personal errands without getting caught; 6) skirting federal spending limits; 7) getting away with saying terrible things about nice people; 8) designing the most inappropriate outfit for the first lady; 9) A memory test – name the last three cabinet secretaries to resign, etc.
The producers were worried the underlying problem with the show might be the lack of a hero to root for. The audience clamors for some sort of good guy/bad-guy tension. By picking some of the most controversial people in America, the producers were concerned the audience would not care who won and quickly lose interest. Like a snake fight, if the snake is fighting a baby bunny – the viewers would be glued to the set. But, if the snake is fighting a rat, people have no connection to either combatant so there is no emotional investment in the outcome.
The producers were working with various successful show developers to see if it was even possible to make any of the key characters likable. The first test viewings were very negative. The consultants were all in agreement that they could make them look better – but not likable. "We are skilled image consultants, not magicians," said one unnamed executive.
Reports indicate that rather than trying to make the contestants likable, show creators will strive to give a suitably horrible ending for the worst of the bad guys that are “deported” off the show. It was sort of a “just desserts” idea. Suggestions ranged from working as a recruiter for the US Border Patrol in El Paso to a one-year stint as a greeter at the new US Jerusalem embassy.