Today, MySpace and reality TV show producer Mark Burnett (Survivor and The Apprentice are his claims to fame, to name a few) announced they will be teaming up to produce a political reality show, wherein politicians-to-be will go head-to-head for $1 million, the Wall Street Journal reports. The show will appear on MySpace’s social networking site but the duo is also looking to score a network spot. Apparently, the “venture is part of a bid by News Corp.’s MySpace to expand its video presence and better compete with Google’s YouTube.” It also appears to be a realization on the part of the company that in order to keep up with the intersection of technology, politics and citizen involvement, video is key. MySpace users can interact with the show’s contestants using their profiles and the “topics that generate the most buzz on the site — whether it’s climate change or immigration reform — will determine the kinds of ‘challenges’ created for the live network show.”
There seems to be no disagreement about video’s rising importance in politics. Google’s YouTube has already flexed its political muscles with YouChoose ’08, an initiative that allows candidates to strut their stuff in video form. In a recent discussion I had with blogger and Deputy Research Editor for ThinkProgress, Nico Pitney, he affirmed that video is definitely an important aspect to success within today’s political landscape:
“Many people who are active in politics now grew up in the age of television. They’re much more comfortable with video as a medium and you can make points through video that have an emotional impact that you can’t communicate through text.”
But the medium also has to entertain and as Gary pointed out a few weeks back, some of YouTube’s YouChoose content is quite the “snoozefest.” So, maybe MySpace has just the remedy. Reality TV. Of course. People engage in that, right? If people care enough to watch Donald Trump sit around a boardroom table and discuss his future lackey prospects, why not the next BHO wrangling with McCain II. And if they engage in dialogue about immigration or climate change? Well, then, all the better, I say!