New reality shows include Bear Grylls forcing people to drink their pee, celebrity diving, and other dystopian scenarios
As the marketplace has become glutted with singing and dancing competitions, and the fallout over The Glass House demonstrates that existential ennui doesn't always translate to a successful series, producers are forced to think beyond the reality show formula to come up with formats ever more dangerous and dumb. Some examples recently put into development: Syfy's Opposite Worlds, a Survivor/Big Brother-like concept based on a hit Chilean show, where contestants compete to see who gets to live in the Future, a utopian place where "every wish can be granted at the push of a button," and who is condemned to the cutthroat Past where, presumably, the buttons do nothing. And NBC's Get Out Alive, in which former Man Vs. Wild host Bear Grylls puts contestants through the rigors of outdoor survival and occasional pee-drinking for his fetishistic enjoyment.
And then, perhaps most grueling of all, there is now ABC's Celebrity Splash, described as U.S. "television's first diving competition show" as that is certainly an accomplishment, in which semi-famous people will be asked to do "backflips, somersaults, and other gymnastic feats" while their time in midair slows enough to consider how their career's path led them to this before the bracing water literally and metaphorically slaps them in the face. All this is, of course, leading to the Horsewhipping Former TV Stars For Your Amusement format that we've pitched and strangely haven't heard back on yet, even though we went to the trouble of including a sketch of Willie Aames getting horsewhipped.