The Next Step for Reality TV

Last night, I was watching "Nightline" on ABC and saw a truly disturbing story on a new reality television program to be hitting the airwaves in the Netherlands this Friday. The title of the show is "Big Donor Show" (or at least that is the English equivalent). The premise of the show is that three contestants will vie for the sympathy of the organ donor and the television audience in order to receive their votes and get the kidney. The donor is a 37-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer. Rather than going through the normal process of donating her organs, she wants to meet the recipient before she dies. The producers agree that the program is tasteless, but they want to draw attention to the poor system of organ donation in the Netherlands (according to the story, the founder of the television station airing the show waited for 13 years to receive a kidney through normal procedures).

While the issue of organ donation is certainly one that needs to be addressed, using reality television to "outplay" other contestants for a kidney is horrendous. Nathan Finn wrote an article expressing his disdain for another reality program that played on the contestants’ greed. This reality program plays with the contestants’ lives. No longer is the prize a sum of money that could change someone’s life. This prize will give someone life.

Has our society lost its moral compass? Did we ever have one to begin with?

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