A show in which "reality TV" is a misnomer

A "reality" television show is being developed in Israel that has to be about the biggest misnomer I've ever heard. You see, infamous fake "spoon bender" Uri Geller is doing a televisions show in which he seeks an "heir" to his psychic/telekinetic throne:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - After four decades of bending spoons, halting clocks, reading minds, and penning metaphysical thrillers, Uri Geller is seeking a paranormal protege.

A reality television show being produced in Israel, where Geller grew up, will feature 10 contestants vying for the title of "heir" to the world-famous celebrity psychic.

"The format will be something like 'American Idol'. We will keep the performances that are most riveting and amazing," Geller told Reuters Wednesday, adding that viewers with "intuitive powers" will also be invited to call in and compete.

Geller, 59, declined to elaborate on what supernatural skills the contestants claim to have, and whether clairvoyants -- who might be assumed to have an edge in predicting judges' votes -- are taking part. He described the prize, simply, as "huge."

Oh, goody. I can hardly wait. How ridiculous can a show get? I only wish they'd pick James Randi as one of the judges. He could play the Simon Cowell role: "Really, now. That was the worst I've ever seen. I could tell exactly how you did it!"

Not surprisingly, Uri doesn't seem to be that concerned about whether there are any real psychics there:

"This is not a show where people have to prove to me that they are for real," Geller said, adding that he has no plans to retire. "I just want to be amazed."

There's good reason for that, given that Geller has been quite thoroughly exposed as a fraud by The Amazing Randi (includes the famous footage of Uri Geller on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson):

Any bets as to how long before this show makes it to the U.S.? Or perhaps we'll have variants on it, with psychics like Allison DuBois seeing how well contestants can use their "psychic powers" to solve real crimes.

You know, I'd be dangerous if I were a TV producer.

More like this

I know! I know! How about an "American Healer" where contestants get to try to cure a hangnail with molecularly-charged bottles of vitamin E water added to the coffee enemas, and Orac gets to be on the panel of judges offering free defibrillation to the losers?

It could work.

By Sister Chatterly (not verified) on 22 Oct 2006 #permalink

Every magician in the country should apply to get on the show. If Geller just wants to be "amazed", he should have no objections. Personally, I'm always amazed by a good act from a stage magician.
Maybe the magicians shouldn't reveal themselves as such and should pretend to be psychics until one of them wins. Then they can reveal how they did their tricks. Sweet!

I got to hear an undeclared promotion interview for this, when a radio news show (on the second most listened to network) called Geller to chat to him about rumors claiming the IDF was using remote viewers to find one of the captured soldiers.

This interview was so full of whoppers I found myself calling in to give them some facts. Turns out that a lot of people called. The interviewer summarized all the actual points I gave the editor, including the URL for the randi video and the fate of the CIA remote viewing program as : "some people are calling and saying that this is all bull", and that was actually the only skeptical part of the interview.

The biggest whopper was when Uri Geller claimed to have worked with the CIA, but that this was classified, and that if someone would go and ask the CIA about this, they'd claim not to know any Uri Geller. At no point did the interviewer actually stop him and ask whether this could be just because they really never did work with him...

By ParanoidMarvin (not verified) on 22 Oct 2006 #permalink

Actually, this isn't any more of a misnomer than other "reality" shows, most of which are almost as heavily scripted as your average sitcom. And since when did game shows count as "reality" TV? Oh, since Survivor. But what does that make shows like COPS and Rescue 911? Documentaries? Arguably. But they're the original reality shows, as well, not this game show garbage that's taken over the airwaves.

I still want a "reality" show that takes a group of people who are representative of community college students, pays their way in a representative urban community college, and gives the "prize" to the ones who complete an associate's degree and get a job within three years. Fun with poverty! single parenting! academic unpreparedness! dead cars and unreliable public transport! unsupportive families and friends! out-of-school-for-20-years rustiness! cranky, inflexible employers! no employer! sick/jailed family members! no health or other insurance! and other delights of reality . . .

By Faithful Reader (not verified) on 23 Oct 2006 #permalink