Survivor: Oxford University
Ken Gordon of Quickmuse (we're doing an event with them--have you heard?) pointed me toward this crazy article in The Guardian about a reality television show in Abu Dhabi where poets are judged American Idol-styles:
"However, despite the format, this is a far cry from the karaoke contests we have grown used to in Britain. Instead of the familiar mix of R&B ballads and selections from the Broadway songbook, contestants from drawn from all the Arab nations recite their own poetry, composed in a traditional Bedouin style called Nabati that dates back to the fourth century. Even the judges are different: respected academics and poets who weigh the contestants use of metre and imagery with unfeigned sincerity, and none of the personalised slurs or gushing pronouncements of star quality one expects from Simon Cowell and his cohorts."
This is amazing for a lot of reasons, not least of which because it immediately made me think of how it could be adapted for American audiences. OK, yes, of course, there's the PBS way of doing things, which I'm sure would be great and well-handled and incredibly enlightening. Or, there's the network way of doing things. I came up with Survivor: Oxford University (and also Survivor: Iowa Writers' Workshop, although that may be far too close to reality too be funny).