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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX FRIDAY SEPT 20, 2002 08:51:37 ET XXXXX
WHITE HOUSE GAME SHOW: MURDOCH NET PLANS 'AMERICAN CANDIDATE'; WINNER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT '04
Move over American Idol. Here comes American President:
A Rupert Murdoch TV game show that may choose the outcome of the next White House race!
Cable channel FX is set to mount an ambitious two-year endeavor that will culminate in the American public voting on -- a "people's candidate" to run for president of the United States in 2004!
100 candidates will start the series.
During subsequent episodes, candidates will square off in numerous competitions, like debates.
The number of semifinalists will be whittled down each week, based on live audience response and telephone/Internet voting.
Each episode will originate from all-American locales such as Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty.
But the final episode of the series will be an "American Candidate" convention, held live on the National Mall in Washington around July 4, 2004!
Viewers will determine the winning candidate from among three finalists.
The series will be seeking "the Jesse Venturas of the world, finding messages people want to hear," added Kevin Reilly, FX's president of entertainment. "Hopefully, we'll find some very qualified civil servant who lacks a power base and maybe also a plumber from Detroit who (tells) it like it is."
"It's like a cross between 'The War Room' and 'American Idol,"' producer RJ Cutler tells this weekend's Daily Variety.
"We will be making available to every American who is qualified, by virtue of the Constitution, the opportunity to run for president."
Just as "American Idol" went searching for undiscovered musical talent, Cutler said "American Candidate" will be on the hunt for untapped political and leadership skill.
It is not clear the ethical ramifications of Murdoch's NEWS CORP financing a presidential candidate's launch.
The game show appears to be inspired by a Buenos Aires television channel which is launching a series called "The People's Candidate" -- where the winner will be nominated as a candidate for the '03 congressional elections in Argentina.
Filed By Matt Drudge
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