I try really hard not to be an overly skeptical and critical person, particularly when it comes to pop culture-related things, so I’m just going to ask:
Am I the only one who thinks a reality TV show featuring activists competing on social media for likes and shares where the winner gets their cause backed by world leaders while the losing causes just lose…is kinda weird?
According to Deadline, CBS will be premiering a show with that premise on Friday, Oct. 22. The show is titled The Activist and it’s a five-week series that will be hosted by Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough—who I assume we’re all just supposed to forget had herself a little Blackface incident in 2015.
Anyway, Deadline reports The Activist “is a competition series that features six inspiring activists teamed with three high-profile public figures working together to bring meaningful change to one of three vitally important world causes: health, education, and environment.”
The way the competition is set up is, activists face off against each other in challenges to promote their causes. The success of said causes is measured by how much online engagement each competitor gets as well as “social metrics,” whatever that means, and input from the hosts.
“The three teams have one ultimate goal: to create impactful movements that amplify their message, drive action, and advance them to the G20 Summit in Rome, Italy,” according to Deadline. “There, they will meet with world leaders in the hope of securing funding and awareness for their causes. The team that receives the largest commitment is celebrated as the overall winner at the finale, which will also feature musical performances by some of the world’s most passionate artists.”
So basically, this is America’s Got Talent, but with important real-life issues and causes that probably shouldn’t be trivialized through a competition judged largely through online clout.
OK, fine—I’ve failed at not being overly skeptical and critical. But in my defense, many of the fine folks on Twitter feel the same way.
Some were even kind enough to come up with alternate names for the show.
OK, everybody, calm down. I realize that, at first glance, this comes off as some tone-deaf “America’s Next Top Model Citizen” nonsense—and personally, I’ve just never been happier to see Black Lives Matter not be included in something—but maybe we’re all wrong and this new series will prove to be an asset to the betterment of humanity. People involved with the program seem to think so.
“The Activist is a first-of-its-kind competition series that will inspire real change, as the series progresses from the United States to Rome for the Activists’ final challenge at the G20,” Hugh Evans, CEO and co-founder of Global Citizen, told Deadline. “The audience will see the Activists’ passion and commitment for their causes tested as they petition world leaders to take urgent action to resolve the interconnected crises we face.”
Jack Sussman, EVP Specials, Music, Live Events and Alternative Programming at CBS, echoed Evans’ sentiments saying, “Combining philanthropy and entertainment, The Activist is a ground-breaking series poised to inspire viewers. We’re thrilled to have Usher, Priyanka, and Julianne as part of the series, guiding our CBS audience through the journeys of passionate changemakers from around the world.”
So, y’all giving this one a shot, or nah?