Clay Chastain

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Clay Chastain

Dr. Henderson

Communications 1301-2

14 November 2006

                                  A New Television Show

       When in Rome is a reality television show in which male contestants battle each

other through fierce competitions to become the ultimate Roman Hero. One of the key

elements that set this series apart from others is the location and its events. The show is

based on ancient Greek and Roman cultures, so events in the show will reflect seemingly

unorthodox tasks to the targeted North American audience. The goal of the show is for

the men to compete against each other in individual challenges, where each challenge

will earn them a number of cumulative points. The winner will have to earn the most

points to be deemed the Hero. However, the challenges will be unlike those of any other

primetime television series: they are inspired by Greek and Roman events such as

drinking competitions, spear throwing, escaping from a labyrinth, and even surviving

against provoked wild animals for a certain time period. Overall, this show’s concept fills

the niche of any other reality show, except with unique twists. The major twist presented

to the audience between this program and other reality-based programs involves the

hostess. As this show is situated in a thematically ancient Greek and Roman style, the

hostess will be based off of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and will be able to

sway the results and create love interests with the all male participants. An example

would be the situation that a contestant would be able to lose a match, but if the hostess

favors one participant over another, she has the final say due to her powers as a goddess;
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because of this, every participant tries to compete to secure her love interest. This will

provide an interesting side story to an otherwise direct competition-based show. She will

purposely try to evoke these love interests and create a strong, yet broadcast appropriate,

romance with the participants. Another key twist is that the participants will be

encouraged to make friends with – or befriend – other participants. For example, one man

may help another in an event to get some advantage for himself in the future, while

another may purposely try to hurt the score of another. This will provoke a strong sense

of companionship, and a sense of animosity and anger. The mixing of this will provide

tension for not only the men, but also for the viewing audience as show to show twists

will happen frequently. This program will serve to fill a niche for both the average reality

television fan as well as those interested in Greek or Roman culture; it is possible that

people who are often put off by the simplistic nature of shows like Survivor will find this

show to have more depth and complexity. We need this program for the exact same

reason that we need any other program: it entertains an audience. The sole purpose here is

to entertain while using its unique plot elements to keep viewers interested. The key

selling feature to this show relies on its uniqueness, especially in terms of the hostess

relationships. Largely, a show of this nature has never been produced, but this has the

chance of filling a new, deeper type of reality, competition-based TV. Factors such as the

chance of the hostess wreaking havoc among the male participants, along with creating

love interests, will create a moderately humorous show. The program will definitely aim

to make the males look like fools because they audience knows the entire love story in

the show, while each man is competing for the same thing. As well, it will feature

Survivor-like tests of endurance to keep the thrill level high. In short, it mixes complex
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concepts with enough low level action to create an enjoyable experience for a broad

audience.

       While the market for television programs is diverse, the target market for this

program is a somewhat focused effort. The age of our target market is anywhere from 18

to 34, although the show will probably appeal more to the younger generation of 18 to 24.

In the 2003 MARS report, a survey of over 21,100 people, nearly 50% of the 18 to 24

demographic and about 37% of the 25 to 34 demographic of both males and females

watched reality programming frequently. There are millions of people in our market;

Fox’s American Idol had a single viewing audience of over 21 million residents

nationwide and our program will expect to tap into the largest percentage of this. The

target market does not specifically appeal to any specific ethnicity as the participants will

be a mixture of races and the tasks for the participants will be loosely based upon ancient

Greece and Rome, a distinctively non-American culture (and therefore not appealing to

any specific race of North American people). The interesting idea behind the show is that

it will appeal to both female and male genders. The most superficial level will be for the

males: they get to watch the love interests of the other guys as they try to win over the

attractive host. The females will, however, be drawn in by the fact the males are made to

be fools through their attempts. The tasks will be equally appealing to both genders as

they are merely competitive Survivor-like events. The average income of these people

can be incredibly varied as this is intended to be a major reality television series; as such,

it will try to encompass the broadest range of people. However, as we have some

generally more complex elements to the show, the series attempts to draw a more affluent

audience. According to the same MARS survey, almost 30% of the people who watch
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reality TV frequently have an income level of 100K to 150K. Likewise, the show is

intended to tap this audience level to the fullest potential.

       Despite the large range of similar shows on television today, the show is intended

to bring fresh ideas to an existing formula. The ideas behind reality TV are the major

drawing factor for audiences. According to media and reality TV experts, people tune

into reality TV to fill a variety of wants. First, there is the element that reality TV cannot

be formulaic; while there is always a basic plan to a show, participants’ interactions with

each other and their reactions to the show’s events will lead to new and exciting avenues

for the plot to go down. There is no real way to know what will happen next and people

greatly enjoy this in modern television programming. Although the show will still have

some base foundations, the idea is to give the participants the freedom to change the

outcome of the season as it progresses. Secondly, people want to see real life. Although

the viewing audience is aware of the postmodern life in which they live, there is an

underlying desire to see real people in real situations and how they react. Third, this

desire to create a false real leads to a contrast between reality and fiction. People also

enjoy fiction. While some reality TV focuses solely on more “realistic” reality TV,

juxtaposing reality with the fictional Greek and Roman location and events will help to

fulfill both of these needs. Third, by using real people, the participants will get to become

involved with something grander than reality; that is, the spectator becomes the

performer through the concept of the show. Fourth, by placing real life people into

unscripted situations, we help to satisfy the vouyeristic urges

       Current competitors include a vast amount of shows, as evidenced solely from

visiting any major broadcaster’s primetime lineup. For a more complete lineup of the
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literally hundreds of shows, a number of websites such as RealityTVLinks.com and

others list every show on the market currently. Shows like Survivor and American Idol

continue to have season after season, but the market is evidently quite accepting to newer

shows such as Project Runway or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Although there

have been many failures into the reality TV industry, there is still room for more. As this

is a very popular television genre, it is reasonable to assume that new shows can still

make a splash in the pond. Our competitors such as the shows mentioned above have

established franchises, but they do not attempt to break the mold. Instead, they follow a

predictable pattern with little change. Reality TV is still a new idea and there is definitely

room for change, especially the changes that When in Rome intends to add to the market.

       After researching the market structure for reality television programming, we

found that When in Rome would best fit on the Fox network for three interconnected

reasons. First, Fox has the highest number of reality TV shows and so it will not have as

much competition with competing networks. Although shows on the Fox network could

potentially take away from the ratings, we believe that placing it with the powerhouse,

instead of against it, would be a smarter move than going with another company, such as

NBC, which lacks a strong reality TV show (its most popular reality show is Fear

Factor). Secondly, because Fox has so many shows already, it can be easily assumed that

they have the most experience with reality TV, especially how to market it effectively.

And third, When in Rome would rather benefit from being on the same network as

American Idol, potentially in a favorable time slot, than directly opposing it. This strategy

would potentially boost viewership instead of reducing it.

				
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