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Bad Idea of the Week: "De Grote Donorshow"

Bad Idea of the Week: "De Grote Donorshow"

I've written a lot about reality TV going too far — remember "The Baby Borrowers"? — but it's nothing compared to this: A Dutch TV station is launching a show in which three patients will compete for a dying woman's kidneys. (Update: It turns out the show was a hoax! See the link at the bottom of this post for the full story.)

Called "De Grote Donorshow" — that's "The Big Donor Show" to you — the show (produced by the company responsible for "Big Brother") follows a terminally ill woman's debate over which of three patients will receive her kidneys when she dies. According to the BBC, the woman (known only as Lisa) will make her decision based on the contestants' personalities and chats with their friends and family. Viewers will be able to text-message advice to Lisa throughout the broadcasts, which are scheduled to start on Friday.

This sounds like the most twisted version of "The Dating Game" that I can imagine. I scoff at people who think they can find love on reality shows; I can't believe that a decision that is literally life-or-death could be turned into a game for a TV audience.

BNN, the network that's airing the show, claims it will raise awareness of the need for organ donors; its founder died of kidney failure after spending years on a waiting list for a transplant. But most organs don't get donated based on whom the donor likes more and feedback from the general public. I can't see how this show is anything but unethical, creepy, and — based on the cartoon kidney in the show's logo — tasteless above all.

Update! Turns out the show was an elaborate hoax to convince the Dutch government to reform its organ donation laws. Wow. I can't imagine any U.S. TV network pulling off a stunt like that.


Join The Conversation
Sonnshine Sonnshine 10 years
Whahahaha. They just wanted people to think about being donor, cos people have to wait sooo long before they can get a donor. I think it was a good idea, cos a lot of Dutch people signed for a donorcard after the show!
mimimotor mimimotor 10 years
The show can be seen on
mimimotor mimimotor 10 years
Last night many ecstatically righteous Dutch Christians complaining about the wickedness of De Grote Donorshow suddenly discovered the beam in their own eye. They had no donor card! The donor show has exposed them in grand style. Some of the more fundamentalist Christians here let their children rather die from polio than have them inoculated. Since last night tens of thousands Dutch viewers have send in forms to obtain such a card now. Faith without works is dead indeed. We rather complain about the sad state of the nation than doing something about it. We Christian couch potato’s have been hit on our most vulnerable spot, TV!
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
wow, thanks to all of you who saw the show for telling us what really happened! We here in the US can't see it, so all we were seeing were the news reports about how outrageous it was! That's fascinating that the network managed to pull off such a subversive hoax. (We really must be accustomed to outrageous reality TV here to believe that something like this could be real!)
nomorecorsa nomorecorsa 10 years
dear readers, BNN made a beautiful programme about the lack of donors in the Netherlands. Everybody thought it would be a horrible show but they showed us 3 people who are in serious need of a kidney donation and one actrice that was the suppossed donator. At the end of the show they uncovered the hoax, the show was a farce to tell every politician that made time complaining about the bad taste of the broadcast that they should put so much effort in changing law, and thus save lives. There is currently a law in the Netherlands that says that people can register if they want to donate, a few months ago some political party tried to change this law into one that says you allways donate, unless you register that you will not. That law did not pass due to to much votes against it, to many christian politicians did not want it. Patients are waiting on this law... The thing is, people don't register, they don't think about it. Because of this show, people are made to think and politicians had a kick in the butt. I've been a donor for many years and think it is terrible that people won't donate after dying, but an the other hand expect that when they need it an organ will be available, how stupid is that... They were shook up this week, and that is a good thing!
RosanneF RosanneF 10 years
You should do some research before you say something, BNN has more shocking programmes as "over mijn lijk" (over my dead body), it's about a few terminal sick people how will die, it's a really good show....They (BNN) always shock people at first but at serious topics they are very ethical.
pascal700 pascal700 10 years
Hi, right now I am watching the show. Despite the writer of the article, I prefer to comment after I know the whole story. The show is all but sensational and tasteless, but a straigtforward protest to all selfish people who keep their organs to themselves when you don't need them anymore..... The only comment you can have to this show is the fact that this kind of action is needed nowadays to get one's attention for the urgent need of organs. that's the real sign of the times.... By the was a HOAX!!!!!!!!!!!!
ruub28 ruub28 10 years
but look at the political background of the problem..
ruub28 ruub28 10 years
i think this is a great concept,if you look at it from the point of reality-wich is that hundreds of people die per year,simply because of long waitinglists and slow administration.i can understand most people would find it sick and unethical,
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 10 years
Crysalis Crysalis 10 years
@_@.. OMG!
CatarinaBella521 CatarinaBella521 10 years
that's so crass and tasteless, shame on everyone involved
Lorelei-Spirit Lorelei-Spirit 10 years
thehabra thehabra 10 years
This sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen...
Beautifulbarbie Beautifulbarbie 10 years
It is creepy.
rosyposy rosyposy 10 years
and imagine being the 'loser',having gone thru all of the challenges on the show only to lose
steph_b_247 steph_b_247 10 years
so wrong
saffy1227 saffy1227 10 years
jhuck jhuck 10 years
Well honey, we could put your name on the donor list and cross our fingers that they'll find a match for us soon...or we can go on that new gameshow!
Advah Advah 10 years
That sounds so sick, it's really disgusting!! :( I've never been a fan of reality tv, but that's going way too far imo.
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