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ABC Eyes High School Musical Reality Show

Bad Idea of the Week: High School Musical With Real People

I can understand how the people in charge of the making-money part of show business are blinded by dollar signs when anyone says the words "High School Musical." The Disney Channel's made-for-TV movie starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens is a goliath that quickly moved from a massive ratings success to a global franchise phenomenon. It's not surprising that the powers that be are eager ride this tween wave for all it's worth. However: a reality show? Really?

There's already plenty of HSM to go around with the original and HSM 2 on TV, HSM3: Senior Year in the works for Fall 2008, and the live stage production and ice tour currently making their way across America. Plus, actual high schools can now license the musical for performances, and Showtime is working on a documentary about the "cutthroat world" of musicals at Southern Indiana high schools. Might this proposed reality show — which would show young singers competing for a still-mysterious grand prize — be the point when even the most die-hard HSM fan just says no?

For more details about the show and why I think this is where the folks in charge should practice some restraint in the brainstorming room,


Variety reports that while the deal is not finalized, some aspects of how the show would work are known and include:

  • A nationwide talent hunt followed by a group of contestants studying at a music conservatory to hone their skills
  • A summer airdate on ABC
  • Weekly eliminations of contestants
  • A grand prize — though the prize itself is still confidential.
  • Appearances by franchise stars (does that include the ice skaters?)

I'm probably not the demographic ABC is targeting for a show like this, and I realize there are others who could be entertained by this concept. However, I've generally come to believe that giving the reality tretament to popular musicals should be avoided (thanks to Grease: You're the One That I Want for that lesson). Issues of HSM overload aside, I think people are attracted to these musicals because it allows them to escape to a sincere and earnest world where most problems can be solved with spontaneous bursts of song and dance. Reality show competitions are rooted in the exact opposite: a cynical place in which there are always winners and losers (and boatloads of drama), and no matter how hard you try, sometimes the cards just don't fall your way. The two just don't mix well, and I can't imagine millions of Americans lining up to watch young hopefuls Buffalo-two-step their way into oblivion.

Then again, maybe the HSM gravy train truly knows no bounds. I think this is one very bad idea, but what's your take?


0037sammie 0037sammie 9 years
Terrible. A VERY bad idea. But people out there enjoy sh*t like this, so what can you do?
demeter demeter 9 years
BAAAAAD idea!!!
Kaysnowboarder Kaysnowboarder 9 years
It is a bad idea - Remember the Grease reality tv show - and that was not even tweens - it is just bad idea.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
If this is the bad idea of the week, then I think we're doin alright ;)
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 9 years
There was already a show like this, on TV Azteca, on Mexico. "High School Musical, the selection" or something like that, girls and boys "study" dance and sing... and every Sunday they "sing" (yes, question marks)... every Sunday... until in the final the winners where a boy and a girl. Someone watch it, because it was on screen a lot of time, I have to watch the tv adds again and again and again...
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
LOL! I'm surprised anyone would be surprised by this. Kids LOVE that movie, and they will definately love it as a reality show. I think reality shows are shit, and I wish they'd go away but I've come to face the fact that SOMEONE SOMEWHERE must be watching this shit, so what the hell.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i want to try out! pick me! pick me! i totally look like vanessa when i wear my red "wild cats" tee-shirt :kiss: sign my year book, k?
kaenai kaenai 9 years
Pickle, I usually wish the same thing. At least I did before my mother reminded me of "Cop Rock". Terrible. Anyway, HSM wasn't that good. It wasn't good enough for all the marketing it's gotten. I think the "reality" show is going to be huge, and only because in this 'Age of Entitlement', everyone and her brother is looking for his or her 15 minutes of fame.
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
Wingedkiare, they did do that. The show aired on the Disney Channel.
wingedkiare wingedkiare 9 years
I can see why they greenlit the idea, but I agree that there are some problems with it. Why couldn't they do a reality series where they follow a school putting on a production of HSM? That would be a much more enjoyable show to watch.
The-Pickle The-Pickle 9 years
As a girl who totally WISHES that in real-life people busted into song and all knew the same choregraphy, even I think this is a bad idea.... I believe part of the allure of HSM, was the fact that it was actually age-appropriate... and the drama, excess, and desparity of reality tv, kind of goes against everything that made HSM good in the first place.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
Personally, I might find some guilty pleasure in the demise of those melodramatic high school drama club types (see my disdain for Syesha on Idol), but it seems like it would bomb as a show. Because as much as I like to see people like that get upset and have little over dramatic hissy fits, I'd probably just watch the highlights the next day on the internet instead of giving the show actual ratings. And do teenagers even tune in for much reality programming outside of The Hills and American Idol?
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