At the weekend, we saw the climaxes of two hugely successful reality shows. A tearful, and tearjerking, fourteen year old boy ‘body popper’ won Britain’s Got Talent, in front of a staggering 20 million viewers. A mature, size 14, singer triumphed in front of 8 million viewers, tuned in to I’d Do Anything, despite Cameron Mackintosh suggesting she was “not right” for the role.
These, and a host of other reality shows, The Apprentice, Strictly Come Dancing, Pop Idol, are taking over from televised sport to give us the armchair adrenaline hit of competition thrill. In America, NBC have announced that of it’s eight new series, seven will be reality shows. These will be promoted alongside it’s coverage of the Olympics, the ultmate reality show.
At their best compelling stuff. The performers, some very good, some less so, putting their all into their few minutes of glory. Then the dreaded wait for the verdict of the panel lead, Caligula-like, by Simon Cowell whose thumbs down signals the end. A modern day gladiatorial spectacle, “we who are about to die salute you”.
Doesn’t this all echo the business pitch? The clients, Cowell-like, able to destroy with a word hopes and aspirations. The pitching gladiators, pouring effort and emotion into the performance, knowing the chances of thumbs up, ‘life’, are one in three or four.
Two history lessons. Firstly, very occasionally, you come across clients who do act like Caligula, In which case leave the arena. Second, whatever your chances, put on a great show. Thumbs up means you live to fight another day.