duckyxdale

8/15/2006

Interesting Reality Show Casting Question

I found this little number over on MSNBC. It's an interesting take on reality show casting and what producers are looking for in a contestant. Read through as they mention SYTYCD and a possible Canadian Spin-off.

Also, in case you didn't know Tricia Helfer (Number Six on BSG) hosts CNTM How come that doesn't air here? I'd so watch... love Number Six!

Q: How can one from another country become eligible for these reality shows? I have seen a few shows with people competing who were from other countries and every time I try to get info on these shows and how to apply for an opportunity I find out that you must be an American to be eligible. ... If you could provide any info on how to become eligible from across the border I would greatly appreciate it. —Jamie, Canada


A: I recently brought this topic up with some producers and critics. Non-Americans apparently can apply to "Rock Star," as J.D. Fortune, last season's winner, is from Ontario. (That made sense, as INXS, the group he now fronts, is Australian.) Canadian women have competed for the hand of "The Bachelor" upon occasion. But the door to such shows as "Survivor" and "Amazing Race" remains firmly closed to applicants from other countries.

As to why? It's complicated and no one can agree. Some say it’s due to insurance and bonding regulations not crossing citizenship lines well. Reportedly, one recent reality program was ready to air, but had to be held up when an Australian contestant had visa problems at the last minute. Numerous laws affect the awarding of prize money, the contestant's employment on the show, and other issues. It's hard to get a straight answer on why Canadians (and others) aren't universally accepted, but it seems clear that if a show wanted to deal with some extra paperwork hassle, they could do it. They just choose not to.

In short, for most producers, it's easier and cheaper for them to stick to the U.S., especially when there is such an unending pool of millions of Americans who are clamoring for such roles.

For now, the only way to be eligible appears to be to change your citizenship (rather drastic) or apply for shows specific to your nation. Canada, for example, has both "Canadian Idol" and "Canada's Next Top Model" now. And at a press conference I attended at the TV Critics summer press tour last month, Nigel Lythgoe, who produces both "American Idol" and "So You Think You can Dance," said there are hopes that a Canadian version of "So You Think You Can Dance" will be created eventually.

And as far as Canadians being able to vote in “American Idol,” Lythgoe said “no” to that as well, adding “It’s about ‘American Idol,’ not ‘American-Canadian Idol’.”

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