November 16, 2004

The Benefactor

I like Mark Cuban. He was the founder of, and he cashed out during the dot com boom for a billion dollar payout.

Since then he's become the owner of the Dallas Maverick's basketball team, which he's revitalized, and numerous other projects, like HD TV and online searching.

I've read about him and seen him interviewed and he just seems like an interesting guy to me. So I was looking forward to his "reality" show, The Benefactor.

The plan was to start with the obligatory 16 people and whittle them down by having them participate in challenges that demonstrated who had the attributes that Mark considered were what was needed to succeed.

One by one Mark would decide who was cut, until only one remained. That person would receive a million dollars from Mark.

I watched the first few eps, but the show didn't work for me. For the same reason that I'm not all that into the Apprentice, the arbitrary nature of a single person's decisions just didn't interest me. I really like the personal interaction, and scheming, and politicking of Survivor.

So after the first two eps I stopped watching. My TiVo kept recording them, but I didn't watch. Gradually my TiVo deleted the eps as it needed space, and today I noticed that there was only the final one left. I decided to give it a look. And if all the eps had been as good as this final one, I would have watched the whole thing.

What made this different is that when they got down to the final two, Mark took them each aside, and told both of them that they lost, and sent them home.

Mark then watched them as they went through their final six hours of publicity pics and interviews. This was his final test, how did they react to failure. This was pretty compelling TV. I was riveted.

After the six hours he brought them back together, told them that the first rejection was fake, and gave them the real results.

Other than making one person go through losing twice, this was pretty interesting.

Posted by jackhodgson at November 16, 2004 01:18 PM