Tonight, finally, after all the hubbub is the the first episode of the controversial CBS series “Kid Nation.” We’ll finallly get to see — through the prism of editing, of course — how these tykes and teens adapt to a no-parents environment.
Now, I know the network has taken a ton of flack for the way the show has used kids for entertainment and ratings purposes. Much of the criticism is probably deserved but parents who send their children seem to be as much to blame as CBS and the producers.
Looking over the 21-page contract that parents had to sign for their kids to participate, there are clauses that include “hazards and conditions that may cause death … injuries arising from equipment failure or defect …loss of orientation in primitive areas.” There’s tons more disclaimers, each more frightening as you go along.
I understand parents were paid a $5,000 stipend, plus the possibility of other monies depending upon how their children fared at certain games and challenges, but at what price do you risk your child’s life? Is $5,000 the current number?
Understandably, that’s a lot of money to many people but I can’t get around the fact that a mother would sign this document with the possibility — certainly a remote one, but that’s not the point — that their child could be in harm’s way for the sake of a reality show.
Lets see if all the negative publicity will translate into ratings, or will the hype be much about nothing and, like many reality shows, this one will come and go in a matter of weeks.
One part of me wants to watch, the other part makes me feel icky about tuning in and giving this “Lord of the Flies” concept credibility. Can’t wait to hear the reaction Thursday morning.
— Stuart Levine