New 'reality show' would let surfers pick parents

Reality television is getting a little surreal with this latest idea -- a show that lets Web voters pick the parents of children up for adoption. So you can't pick your parents, but evidently people with a good Net connection can.

The TV-viewing public has seen a surge of sound decision making in the past couple of years, watching as Trista the bachelorette chose a fiance, "multimillionaire" Rick Rockwell picked a wife/ex-wife, and the cast of Fear Factor ate fish guts.

So what could make more sense than letting Internet voters pick the parents of a child awaiting adoption?

According to the Annals of Improbable Research, psychic Uri Geller has applied for a patent to protect his idea for a television- and Internet-based reality program that lets viewers choose parents for children.

Mr. Geller could not be reached for comment, but an application for a patent bearing the name "Uri Geller" is available online at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Web site.

The application describes a system that puts prospective parents under 24-hour surveillance, makes the footage available via television and the Web, then lets the public vote on which "parent-contestant" should "win" the child.

The application states this process would be more equitable than current methods for placing children with families.

"Voting by viewer participation in media broadcast events has proven to yield justifiable and equitable results, as in the case of the Big Brother episode, where it was widely believed that the most deserving participant ended up the correct winner," the application states in part. "Moreover, an audience polling system for the game program Who Wants to be a Millionaire has proven to be extremely accurate, rarely failing in cases where the contestant asks the audience to vote on a correct result to a question."

The application -- which includes a schematic that shows how voters' homes are linked by the Internet and television -- says that the contest is a superior method because it would "provide an abundance of time and access to observe a pool of prospective parents so that a truly fair and contemplative choice can be made."

Contemplative? Maybe the patent office should wait to find out whether Kelly Clarkson really becomes an "idol." Or whether the Married by America winners get to their Paper Anniversary.

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