Apr 082009

Fox TV has picked up a reality show from Endemol USA entitled “Someone’s Gotta Go.” Timely? Yes. Disgusting and a horrible idea? Also yes.

According to Variety, the show, which is already in production and has been described as “Survivor” meets “The Office”, has employees at a struggling business choosing for themselves whom among them is to be fired. The person who loses his or her job may receive some small severance package, but that’s it.

I was horrified as I read this article. Honestly, I’d have to say this reality concept disgusts me more than any of the violently shocking, unnecessarily sexually explicit, or pure trash offerings already polluting the airwaves (admittedly, I have a high stomach for explicit or controversial material, while tabloid-type trash is simply something with which I don’t waste my time).

The problem with “Someone’s Gotta Go” is that Fox and Endemol are taking a terrible moment in someone’s life–being laid off in a time on unprecedented economic insecurity–and are turning it into entertainment. And while the televising of an individual’s personal tragedy is by far the worst offense, everyone involved will experience the residual effects. The distrust and animosity generated among the other employees jockeying to save themselves are not likely to dissipate for a long time after the show is shot… if ever.

To make matter worse, bosses and businesses are absolved somewhat of the responsibility of firing one of their employees. It’s not an easy choice, and in these tough economic times it’s something with which many unfortunately struggle. And that’s how it should be. When dealing with someone’s livelihood, the decision should never be easier, the responsibility never lessened–which is exactly what “Someone’s Gotta Go” does.

I wonder what other “considerations” these business receive?

We can only hope that this show fails miserably. Every time we think reality television has finally gone too far, some producer finds a way to lower standards of good taste even further. Fox and Endemol should be ashamed of themselves. Mike Darnell (head of Fox reality) and David Goldberg (head of Endemol North America), I demand you step down!

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