Given the crassness of some reality formats, it’s no surprise that “Let’s Make a Baby” — in which contestants competed to conceive a baby with a complete stranger — was pitched at last fall’s Mipcom and found plenty of buyers.
But when U.K. auds got their first glimpse of the concept last week, it turned out to be a spoof, the cornerstone of a doc presented by British comedian Danny Robins for offbeat BBC3 current affairs skein “Mischief.”
“The moral of the tale is, sadly, that it is terribly, terribly easy, over only eight weeks, to show how low reality might go,” says BBC docu topper Alan Hayling, who helped devise the scam.
The concept involved six men and seven women marooned in a “love hotel” for three weeks, with the least attractive being voted out each week. Two remaining couples would then race to be the first to conceive a child — and win a $170,000 jackpot.
When the “show” advertised for contestants, about 200 people volunteered. Response at Mipcom was equally enthusiastic, as buyers failed to see through the con.
When production company Smile You’re On TV threw a party at Cannes’ Majestic Hotel to drum up interest, “The reaction was very positive. People came from all over the world,” recounts Helen Sage, the BBC producer who filmed the hoax. “These included buyers from U.S. channels who, for legal reasons, cannot be named.”
She adds: “Only broadcasters from Italy and Ireland were unhappy about the idea. As Catholics, they said their audiences weren’t ready for it.”