Nope, you didn’t miss any big TV competition show finales, or major sporting events (although, I’m not entirely sure about that) or even any awards shows this Memorial Day weekend. Other than Beyonce‘s big comeback, which my colleague was lucky enough to have attended, not much else was going on in the world of entertainment. So then, “Who won what?” you might be wondering – and rightfully so. You see, in reality, nobody won anything, and I’d argue that with this news that I’m about to share, it is quite the opposite. So, while you may not have missed any big to-dos this weekend, what you might have missed is the news that NBC is unveiling yet another singing competition show. Yes, you read that right. ANOTHER singing reality show. And it’s name? You guessed it – it’s called The Winner Is.
Call me crazy, but haven’t we had enough of these shows? And coming from someone who a) is an entertainment enthusiast and b) is a singer who c) absolutely loved the first several – er, 10 – seasons of American Idol, and d) loves good TV as much as than the next person, I just feel like after Idol, America’s Got Talent, The X-Factor, The Voice, and most recently, Duets, are we simply out of ideas? Are TV producers really unable to come up with something novel or are they simply too lazy to try? And on the heels of the same news came the official announcement that The Sing-Off is being cancelled. Now, of all the shows of its kind out there, I actually thought Sing-Off was the most genuine talent competition show of them all. No pomp and circumstance, no crazy theatrics to distract us from the actual singing, no phony hoopla around the judges – who were actually musical and gave constructive critiques (I think I would learn something from Ben Folds with each episode!) It was simply a great showcase of the contestants’ natural vocal prowess, which, as a former college a cappella gal myself, I found to be highly engaging and entertaining.
Anyway, back to this new show. Perhaps I shouldn’t be blaming the producers or the networks. Obviously, there is still (somehow) an audience for these shows. And as long as people keep watching, networks will keep making them. So listen up, people: Stop watching these shows and demand something new from the networks! They obviously have plenty of resources to get creative and wow us with something completely unexpected (and modifying the format in ever the slightest way does not count). Having just been through up-front season (where all the networks trot out their new shows to try to garner advertiser interest and support) and knowing full well that the majority of those shows will be cancelled, there is clearly a way to throw some of those creative juices into the reality show bucket. Just imagine what would have happened years ago if game shows (the reality shows of yester-year) were just re-created by each network in an attempt to grab a bigger slice of the viewing audience. How many versions of Jeopardy or The Price is Right would you have been willing to watch?
Maybe it is just me. Maybe I’m getting old and cynical. And heck, maybe I too will enjoy the ever-so-slight format changes that The Winner Is will offer. It sounds like they are borrowing a page from the Deal or No Deal model, where the contestants will be fighting for a huge cash prize and will have the option to bow out for lesser prizes along the way, rather than being voted off by viewers (a celebrity judging panel will otherwise determine their fate). It’s not highly likely that I’ll get hooked, but I’m open to anything – at least at first.