Nazis Invade Czech Reality Show… Is America Next?

From: Leslie Moonves

To: Nina Tassler

Date: June 7, 2015

 

Nina Baby,

Did you catch the NY Times piece re this new Czech reality show, Holiday in the Protectorate? A family is sent “back in time” to a rural village in 1939—milk the cows, outdoor plumbing, that kind of “educational television” shtick, but the kicker is it’s under Nazi occupation. Gestapo kicking in the door. Neighbors are informers. Rationing. What would you do to survive? Prize money.

Anything down the pike for a US version? Ideas?

 

From: Nina Tassler

To: Mark Burnett

Date: June 7, 2015

 

Mark Hon,

Forwarding you LM’s memo. Is there a chance of getting Bruce on the phone? I know he’s stuck in Mexico doing 10 to 12, but I heard the two of you are working on something contemporary for the Latin American market. Thoughts?

 

From Mark Burnett

To: Nina Tassler

Date: June 8, 2015

 

Brainstorming. Are you looking for something like this?

Welcome to Manzanar! We place three families in a Japanese Internment camp (Of course they don’t have to be Japanese!). Make it a competition. Harsh cramped quarters, “armed” soldiers barking orders, lousy food. They gain “loyalty” and “obedience” points for sending their boys off to war, following rules, informing on suspicious activity, etc. Points off for disloyalty, trying to leave, dissent, etc. Increasing provocation by guards, generational conflict, etcetera. Tags: What would you do to keep your family in line for the prize?

The Plantation! Similar to above, but set on an ante-bellum cotton plantation. Families live in cramped slave quarters, have to grow their own crops, make homemade traps to catch small animals for food, work from dawn to dusk, and get “whupped” if they “sass” “Massa.” Then we bring in “Harriet Tubman,” who offers them a chance for freedom, but if they get “caught” they forfeit the prize money.

 

From: Nina Tassler

To: Mark Burnett

Date: June 9, 2015

 

Mark Hon,

Spoke to LM. Let’s approach more broadly. Maybe not a family thing. We thrive on controversy, but nothing that reminds America of a painful past, so either make us proud or set it somewhere else. And let’s not be slaves to historical accuracy either! The suggestion of accuracy may be enough. Also some real “peril” for the contestants, plus conflict and intrigue. And sex it up! You can’t make steak without getting bloody!

 

From Mark Burnett

To: Nina Tassler

Date: June 9, 2015

 

Anything suit?

444 Days This reality series features a group of  “American Embassy” workers (contestants) who are captured on Day One by “Iranian students” (actors).  How will they survive the next 443 days of captivity? In a great twist, two contestants are randomly chosen to be (secret) CIA agents. They’ll be told that two of the students are assets—but they won’t know which ones! Everyone will be interrogated! Frequently. Who’s going to crack?

The Master Race It’s like the Amazing Race but with other types of challenges! Can you prove your superiority and ruthlessness? Which couple will be left standing after the schuhpattler elimination? How will you do on the round-up-your-neighbors round? Who can sniff out the family in hiding?

Torture for Dollars! What would you do to win the $1 million dollar jackpot? You’ll undergo fifteen increasingly difficult “challenges” beginning with a minor electric shock and proceeding to … That’s for us to know! You can make it stop simply by screaming “Uncle” or the safe word of your choice! But remember the milestone “pain points” are $0, $25,000, and $250,000 and the grand prize, so if you stop before you reach the next milestone, your winnings will go down! Hosted by Ann Coulter.

The Collaborator A cross between Holiday in the Protectorate, Big Brother, and The Mole. You’re part of an underground resistance cell in occupied France, (great opportunity for the actors to ham it up with accents). Team members are continually “caught” and “executed” by “occupiers.” Who’s leaking information? How do you find out? And what punishment will the team inflict on the rat?

Camp Concentration Remember the old Concentration game? Contestants had to remember the “matches” on the board. Same idea here, except if you don’t answer correctly another contestant will give you an electric shock. Each wrong answer leads to a bigger shock. (Kicker: We don’t actually shock anyone, but the contestant giving the shock won’t know that!)

The BOMB Four teams of competing contestants are given an assignment! Blow up a major landmark in a highly populated zone at a selected location! Evade local authorities. Beat the airport porno scan. Be merciless! Of course, these aren’t real bombs, and we really aren’t holding a gun to your kid’s head at an undisclosed location! But what would you do if you thought we were?

Casablanca The intrigue of the old movie brought to life! You’re in Casablanca, Morocco, during World War II. Vipers! Vipers everywhere! There are ten “refugees” (competitors) but only two letters of transit, which can’t be rescinded or even questioned by the Nazis. They may be hidden in Rick’s Cafe Americain or maybe at The Blue Parrot. How will you get your hands on them?

 

From: Nina Tassler

To: Mark Burnett

Date: June 10, 2015

 

Mark Hon,

Right track! Love The Bomb! Others are promising as well. But about the Casablanca thing, seems too soft. Besides have you seen the movie? What would we do about Sam, the piano player? Could be seen as a racial stereotype.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

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    Camp ConcentrationA great novel by one of the unsung masters of American Sci-fi, Thomas Disch.