Saturday, December 31, 2005

Why I Should Produce the Oscars Telecast 

I'd like to start my pitch by acknowledging that, yes, it's true that I have absolutely zero experience in film, television, or the production of anything more exciting than the occasional phlegmy cough. That said, I believe I should still be handed the job based on the revolutionary, transformative nature of my ideas. I propose to convert a stale, tired, overlong broadcast of obligation into a money making extravaganza.

Here's how (stay with me now):

First of all, we've got to shorten the broadcast by getting rid of those interminable commercial breaks. Stop! Save the cries of heresy. How can I expect to make those promised piles of money without selling out, you ask? The answer here is corporate sponsorship, and lots of it. "And now this year's Office Depot envelope for the Merrill Lynch award for Best Actor, please turn your attention to the Yahoo.com podium where the star of NBC's hit sitcom ..." Ka-ching!

And does anyone care about the technical awards, like Best On Site Catering or Best Best Grip, other than the nominees' blood relatives? Me either. So we should do them all simultaneously via split screens, with each award handed out in it's own separate sound proof booth. The only reason I wouldn't move this whole section to public access cable is because you never know when one of the award recipients might show up naked or vomit on camera or pull some other sort of TIVO-worthy stunt. But once the awards have changed hands and all of the podiums are still dry, CUT!

Viewers also are now fully trained to expect the finest of everything on television -- kind of like life, but better. So we need to honor that expectation with a new rule: no ugly nominees. If you could watch a real-time feed of the telecast's ratings every time Michael Moore's mug appears on screen, you'd agree with me. From now on, we either require that all nominees be handsome and/or beautiful, or we hire body doubles to stand in for the cosmetically challenged. Don't worry, the increase in revenue will more than cover the cost of any resulting litigation.

But most importantly, we absolutely MUST add real life drama to the events. It's no coincidence that the public's appetite for the excitement of reality programming has mushroomed in recent years. A generation raised on the hyper-stimulation of MTV -- by the way, they really should shorten that to MT because I don't think viewers have patience for all three letters anymore -- that generation needs more endorphins per episode than did their Gunsmoke watching ancestors. It's clear that if we're going to turn the Oscars telecast into the cash cow God intended it to be, we're going to have quench our viewers' thirst by milking the awards for every last melodramatic drop.

Therefore, we will no longer be opening just a single envelope to announce the winner for each category. Sure, the tears of joy and overlong speeches are nice, in a kitschy sort of way. But our viewers deserve more, so we're going to announce both a winner, and now a loser as well. The ups and downs, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, that's what it's all about. Our viewers absolutely deserve to see Russell Crowe weeping like a little girl as Tom Hanks gloats in his face.

But why stop at fixing the ends? It doesn't excuse the mediocre means. We simply must fix the voting procedures. I know they're called the Academy Awards, but if you ask me, the most important thing we have to do is get rid of the Academy. It's BORING. No one really cares. I propose that people would be much more emotionally involved with the outcome if each winner were selected in a multi-telecast format by survivor-style voting. Each week, for four weeks running, we would see one sobbing celebrity after another booted from the auditorium, with highly trained psychologists strategically posted at the exits to solicit the most bitter comments possible in retribution against the other nominees. Who wouldn't watch that?

Except perhaps we use a single elimination mud wrestling tournament to choose best actress instead. It's the way of the future, I'm sure of it.
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