Reality TV these days lacks imagination. Joe Millionaire? Married by America? How about the old Monty Python skit, Blackmail? The Blackmail set consists of the host at a desk with a telephone. A crude home video rolls, with a running meter and a telephone number at the bottom of the screen. The video begins innocuously. A car drives down a street, an unidentifiable man walks into a house. Shadows appear in a bedroom window as the meter continues to run. The man and a woman begin to undress. The woman brandishes a whip. The camera zooms in…and the phone rings. It’s the poor sap calling, agreeing to pay whatever’s on the meter to stop the video.
Think about it. Zero production costs. Staff salaries partly defrayed by the swag. And who could afford not to watch?