The Ultimate Reality TV Show

<B>Columnist Steve Hartman</B> Proposes A New Reality Concept

This week's commentary is by 60 Minutes Columnist Steve Hartman.
Ever since Donald Trump hit it big with "The Apprentice," it seems every two-bit billionaire in America wants his own reality show.

This fall, Richard Branson, the Virgin Airways guy, will be picking his own protégé in "Quest for the Best."

And dot-com ego and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will be asking the question, "What will people do for a million dollars?" I'll save him the trouble. Anything! Show cancelled.

When did reality TV get so unrealistic? And what's Paris Hilton doing even setting foot on a farm?

This is why I'm proposing a bold, new reality concept. I shot this quite a while back, using a nice retired couple from Toledo, Ohio.

Hartman: Mom and Dad, first of all, thanks for letting me do this. You've got to be excited. What did you think when I told you what I wanted to do with you?

Hartman's mother: I thought, I guess, it's not as bad as wanting a kidney.

With cameras literally everywhere, I created the first-ever reality TV program.

Hartman's mother, reading: To keep your glassware gleaming, add a quarter of a cup of vinegar to the dishwater.

I'm talking real reality.

Although my dad doesn't talk much, you do get to watch him move the remote control from the couch, where it doesn't belong, to the end table, where apparently it does. You also get to see my mother table-dance to college fight songs, which is pretty much why the tape has never left my basement -- until now.

Over one weekend, I conducted a little focus group of my show, and got mixed reviews. But they really had only one major complaint. Bad casting.

Most said all the show needed was characters who were more like themselves. All of which means it's only a matter of time before this phenomenon plays out to its logical conclusion.

The ultimate reality TV program: all of us starring in our very own shows doing what we do in reality, watching TV.
  • Rebecca Leung

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