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Can Reality TV can any crazier? Yes and this is how

TV
AFP


Naked and stripped of all possessions in an empty flat: what will you choose to have back first? Clothes or food?

That’s the idea behind “Stripped”, a new reality TV show from Denmark, one of many weird and wonderful concepts unveiled in the French Riviera resort of Cannes at a gathering of top television bosses.

Viewers can look forward this year to love-sick priests, super-talented child musicians, manhunts, puppet competitions and ever more dangerous challenges, said TV expert Virginia Mouseler, from The Wit, a television consultancy.

The market for reality TV ideas, “formats” in the professional jargon, is worth a staggering two billion euros ($2.1 billion).

A key trend in this year’s crop: classical music.

The British TV series “The Choir”, in which contestants with little singing experience come together for professional training before a live performance, enjoyed huge success and is spawning spin-offs.

In the Netherlands, “The orchestra of the nation” picks up the same idea, following 65 amateur musicians who come together to play in Amsterdam’s biggest concert hall.

Artistic talent is also to the fore in “prodigies”, a hit on French TV last year, where children compete in the classical arts of music, singing and dance.

Another trend is that reality TV programmes appear to be competing with each other to come up with ever more dangerous activities to put their contestants through.

The “fear factor” is what counts, says Mouseler, in shows such as “Bullseye”, where contestants are catapulted into the air by a giant elastic band, made to stand on the roof of a moving van or dragged through fire.

“Blindfolded” from Sweden blindfolds its contestants and places them in increasingly terrifying situations -- which they have to face -- all for a prize of $50,000.

But there are no prizes in “The Raft”, from the United States -- just the satisfaction of surviving.

Contestants are put in a raft without food or water and have to survive for a week in shark-infested waters.

As in other areas of life, sex sells, even in unexpected quarters.

“Pray for love” from Sweden follows the amorous adventures of priests looking for earthly love.

And “Father Pride” follows the fortunes of gay sons and their disapproving fathers. It builds up to the gay pride march in Buenos Aires, where the key question is whether the father will join his son or not.

Other shows unveiled at the Cannes shin-dig ranged from the insane to the downright ridiculous.

A Hungarian show invites participants to get as drunk as possible -- with a breath test to make sure they are actually tipsy -- and then perform a series of tricky challenges.

Audience participation is the key in “Run!”, where contestants are hunted down by detectives and receive tips via Twitter from those watching at home.

“The Puppet Show” from the Netherlands is exactly what the name suggests -- a puppet talent show, presented, of course, by a puppet.

But the top prize for the most extreme reality TV show must go to “Labor Games” from the United States.

Women about to go into labour are surprised by a TV crew who rush in and ask them a series of questions. The prize? Presents for their as-yet unborn child.

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