If you’ve long dreamed of a TV show that combines America’s Next Top Model with space camp, you might finally be in luck. TV Guide says that producer Mark Burnett (The Voice, Shark Tank) currently has multiple networks engaged in a bidding war for a reality show that would send the winner into space.
Stop imagining a version of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery where the most scheming person on the show is ejected from the Earth’s atmosphere and permanently abandoned. Rather, “the winner would take off on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico — perhaps as soon as next year,” according to TV Guide.
In an ironic twist, this might be the only way for regular space nerds to actually land a seat on Virgin Galactic’s ventures into orbit. The tickets cost $250,000 a pop, and the current waiting list is packed with celebs including Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.
This isn’t Mr. Burnett’s first attempt at mining space for ratings gold. At the turn of the century he tried selling Destination: Mir, but the Russian space station was decommissioned before he could pull it together. Nor is this the only such venture in the offing, though it is probably the most realistic. Mars One plans to fund its mission of permanent settlement by televising the whole process.
The real question is whether this is a testament to the popularity of all things space, or evidence that the reality TV business has run through all the obvious concepts and now has to get creative/desperate.