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Reality gets harder to bear

Reality gets harder to bear

By Michiel Veugelers, Creative Strategist, Universal Media, Netherlands

The Netherlands has given the world many great things: Van Gogh, windmills and the

We’re also responsible for something about which the world is more ambivalent: reality TV.

It was here that John de Mol came up with Big Brother in 1999 and the impact has been felt on global TV schedules ever since. For those of you who regard this as a modern day curse, I have some bad news.

This autumn’s schedules are packed with even more of the same. Talking to productions companies and TV stations about non-spot opportunities for our clients, we’re being told that alongside the big talent shows like Idols and Holland’s Got Talent there will be a host of spin offs for dancers, magicians and shows for
those with no talent at all.

In essence we can identify three broad trends for this autumn’s viewing.

Firstly, after four seasons of Holland’s Next Top Model and the Dutch version of Project Runway, concept is now being extended to all other professions. We’re going to be invited to care about stylists, hotel and bar managers, house owners/builders and cooks. Sadly no one has been commissioned to make Holland’s Next Top Media Planner yet.

The second trend will be a lot of copies of popular programs about Dutch people who settle in a foreign country and try to re-build their lives by running a campsite or vineyard.

The final theme for autumn viewing will be Big Brother but without the existing – minimal – limits. Last season John de Mol produced a show called The Golden Cage, where participants could live like millionaires but can’t leave their luxurious villa.

The person who stayed in the house the longest wins the villa and enough money to never work again. The Dutch press called it the bully show, because there was a lot of bullying, swearing, sex and general harassment.

One contestant was named Terror Jaap and covered himself in his own puke to encourage the others to leave.

The show was cancelled before anyone could win the villa, the winner received a million euros but since the ratings were good, they are planning a new season.

So expect a lot of reality TV but not a lot of original and refreshing ideas. But there is hope. John de Mol, the man responsible for this boom, has plans to enlighten the world with new reality formats andhe wants your ideas.

He recently launched a website where you can share your very own reality show formats.

If your format that makes it to TV you‘ll receive US$50.000. If you’ve got a good idea visit and maybe next TV season we’ll have some really new and original programs to watch!

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