Odds & Sods

How many twinkies can a bar of gold buy?...
October 1, 2000

How many twinkies can a bar of gold buy?

The success of Big Brother has inspired Dutch media giant Endemol Entertainment to offer yet another voyeur program by next spring – Big Diet. Produced for German broadcaster Sat1, the show’s premise is a competition among ten participants – five men weighing 120-130 kilos (265-285 pounds) each; five women weighing 100 kilos (220 pounds) each – to lose the most weight over 100 days at a health farm. ‘They must be real fat,’ observes a Sat1 rep, ‘but not so fat that you wouldn’t notice a loss of 20 kilos.’ Their every move will be monitored and recorded (and edited into digestible morsels) for TV viewers. Each week, the two who have lost the least weight will be nominated to leave, but the audience will decide which one must go. The grand prize for the lucky winner? A kilo of gold for every one shed. But winning their weight loss in bullion won’t be easy. Along with dieticians and fitness instructors, the health farm comes equipped with a gourmet restaurant and shops filled with tempting treats.

A fine piece of machinery

In the u.s. Midwest, cash and cars don’t cut it as incentive to compete in a reality TV show, compared to the pull of a tractor. American cablecaster USA Networks enticed participants with the racy red farm equivalent of a Rolls Royce for Last One Standing: Nebraska, a two-hour special that aired in August. To win the tractor, contestants had to stand with one hand on the tractor at all times for as long as it took – no leaning, squatting or sitting allowed. In the company’s own words: ‘Smarts and strength mean nothing. In this contest, sheer force of will is everything.’ Twelve people went head-to-head (or hand-to-hand), ranging from a great-grandmother to a reformed jail-bird. In the end, Buster, a 49-year-old farmer won – after 69.5 hours on his feet. Long may his tractor wheels turn.

We don’t need no education

Oprah and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire are undisputedly popular programming, but some u.s. parents put them in the category of educational too. According to a report from E! Online, a recent study (conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center) found that 70% of 1,235 parents interviewed consider the talkshow and the gameshow educational. Confusion as to how to define educational was even more prevalent, however – 85% said they don’t know what constitutes educational television. The study also found that kids watch two-and-a-half hours of TV every day and interact with some kind of media six-and-a-half hours daily.

Maybe bras are passé

The motives of a thief are difficult to decipher at the best of times, but particularly so in an incident at this year’s Sunnyside of the Doc event in Marseilles. The irresistible item was a poster for The Other Loch Ness Monster, a one-hour doc about occult leader Aleister Crowley. The poster, which bears a skull and crossbones, disappeared one night from the stand belonging to London-based producer/distributor Airborne TV, never to be seen again. Oddly, the poster immediately beside Loch Ness, a buxom rendering promoting Bra Wars, was completely ignored, with not so much as a wrinkled corner. Perhaps somewhere out there a prudish kleptomaniac Satanist is enjoying his choice of stolen goods.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.