Who Wants to Win a Kidney?
Posted on May 29, 2007
If you thought reality television had already hit its nadir, guess again. The creators of the “Big Brother” franchise have whipped up a shocking new premise for their next hopeful hit in the Netherlands: A terminally ill woman will, with advice from viewers, choose the winner ... of her kidneys. Update: Producers at Endemol, the company behind “Big Brother” and “Big Donor,” have ‘fessed up that the supposedly sick woman is a healthy actress, but that the contestants are in need of kidneys. The show, they said, was designed to draw attention to kidney donation issues in the Netherlands.
The 37-year-old donor, identified only as Lisa, will make her choice based on the contestants’ history, profile and conversation with their family and friends.
Viewers will also be able to send in their advice by text message during the 80-minute show.
The Dutch donor authority has condemned the show, as have kidney specialists in the UK.
“The scenario portrayed in this programme is ethically totally unacceptable,” said Professor John Feehally, who has just ended his term as president of the UK’s Renal Association.
“The show will not further understanding of transplants,” he added. “Instead it will cause confusion and anxiety.”
Dutch politicians and religious groups have condemned “The Big Donor Show,” calling it unethical and unhelpful in terms of raising awareness about organ donations.