The desert drill is not going to happen, but how about a national contest to help one of the presidential candidates "find his perfect First Lady?" The winner will be flown in to meet the candidate and treated to dinner. Inspired by a remark by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, PoliticsNH.com and LiberalHearts.com actually did hold a "Who Wants To Be First Lady Contest" which drew entries from 80 women and culminated in Kucinich having breakfast with Gina Marie Santore, age 33 of New Jersey, at the Holiday Inn in Concord on December 11, 2003. Fox didn't make a series of it, however.
In fact there is a proposed series that will bring about the intersection of reality TV and the presidential campaign. R.J. Cutler, who produced "The War Room," a documentary about Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, has come up with "American Candidate," described as "a reality series in which the American public will choose a people's candidate to run for President of the United States in 2004." The show will actually be closer to "American Idol" than "Survivor." A panel of experts will narrow down a pool of applicants to a manageable number of finalists who will compete in events designed to test their political skills. (The schmooze? The handshake? The evasive answer?)
On September 20, 2002 FX announced it had bought the series, but in May 2003 FX pulled out, citing costs. Showtime Networks Inc. took on the project. In October 2003 it requested an advisory opinion from the Federal Election Commission on how the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and FEC regulations would apply. See FEC: Draft AO 2003-34 [pdf].
"American Candidate" will premiere on August 1 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) and
run over ten weeks. Montel Williams will host "American Candidate,"
and ten candidates, announced
July 15, 2004, will compete. The winner will receive $200,000 and
a nationwide media appearance.