Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's all in how you present it

Robin Leach talked about Gordon Ramsay and his new Las Vegas restaurant and Hell's Kitchen when he wrote this:
Hell’s Kitchen is now the longest-running, non-celebrity contestant, reality TV challenge program, surpassing Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.

My first reaction was to try to come up with a snarky comment about Survivor not counting because it wasn't filmed in the US, and American Idol not counting because too many people watch it. But then I started to think to try to understand exactly what he was saying. So, I went to Wikipedia to see if they had a reference for that "non-celebrity contestant, reality TV challenge program" line It has this to say:
Hell's Kitchen has surpassed The Apprentice (hosted by Donald Trump) in number of non-celebrity-contestant seasons

So, I have no clue as to what a "non-celebrity contestant, reality TV challenge program" is. If I had to guess, it's a show where the winner is determined by some sort of judging and not by any sort of calculated measurement.

The true question now is where did Leach get this line? Did somebody read what Wikipedia said and then give it a bit of a flourish? did a PR flack give him that line to add into his column? Or was it a simple misinterpretation?

No matter what the reason is, that line is one hell of a thin slice to make in order to puff up somebody whose ego doesn't need any more inflating. But that is Robin Leach's style - gush about his subjects and write puff pieces. He doesn't need to question something so specific sounding. Why would somebody lie about something as specific as "non-celebrity contestant, reality TV challenge program." What would be the benefit of being the longest lasting of such a niche group?

I don't think there's a benefit to being the longest running anything of a limited subsection of television; it's clear that others believe that being number one in something has to be a positive.

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