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Television
John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV


Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Did You Watch Kid Nation?

I'll admit it, CBS had me hooked on "Kid Nation".... for about a half hour. But when the four kid leaders found the history book advising them to divide into four teams by color, and turned into "Survivor" with a "showdown" (reward competition), I lost interest. Suddenly this wasn't about kids genuinely deciding to set up an orderly society on their own... It was just another reality competition show.

In the beginning, I had my doubts. I didn't like the fact that the TV producers -- not the kids -- picked the four leaders. (The kids couldn't elect four of their own?) But I was willing to see how the adventure unfolded. I was OK until they pulled out the blue, red, yellow and green bandannas.

I know the CBS producers will find some very compelling stories in the kids, like Jimmy, the 8-year-old who went home to New Hampshire, or Taylor, the "beauty queen" who doesn't do dishes. But I'm turned off by the heavy hand producers have in creating this "reality" -- what appears to be electric lights in the bunkhouse... a TV?... drinking root beer in shot glasses.... down to the the color-coded chairs for the four leaders at the town meeting... And I swear I saw baked beans on the dinner plates, when all they showed were kids struggling to make macaroni....

Next week I'll be watching Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton on Fox's "Back to You." I'll put "Kid Nation" on the DVR, but to me it's not Must See TV this fall.

Did you watch? Will you watch again?


17 Comments:

at 9/20/2007 10:06 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't miss anything with Frasier meets Mrs. Barone. I won't be back next week.

 
at 9/20/2007 10:17 AM Blogger utech said...

we did not watch and don't plan to. i'm sorry but this is just plain endangerment and the parents and producers should all be charged. how long before we have tv shows of 100 kids walking 4mph until only one is left?

 
at 9/20/2007 10:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watched "Back to You". It got off to a slow start but looks like it might have potential. Heaton & Grammer appear to work well together.

 
at 9/20/2007 10:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed "Back to you" Does have a lot of potential. Am still a fan of "Til death" too
Also,missed "beauty and the geek"
but that is the young man i had in storytime.
from the neighborhood

 
at 9/20/2007 11:08 AM Blogger Josh Katzowitz said...

Yeah utech, they could call that show, "The Long Walk."

That's one of my favorite stories ever. In fact, I'm going to reread it again.

 
at 9/20/2007 11:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiese --

you're dead on with your analysis. it is not the sociological experiment CBS played it up to be.

 
at 9/20/2007 11:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks endangerment was involved in "Kid Nation" is sadly misinformed and incredibly naive. What you don't see is the army of production staff off camera and emergency personnel who were standing by...do you really believe that the producers would be that unprepared when kids are involved and do you think the parents would have let them if they didn't have assurances that the kids would be safe?
Finally...this show offers families something to watch together at 8P rather than most of the stuff that is unfit for kids.

 
at 9/20/2007 12:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kid Nation is a great show. Finally a show which teaches kids that working hard will lead to rewards in life, versus the entitlement most kids think they deserve today.

I consider it one of the better reality shows in television. The second 30min made the show even better.

It's summer camp but better. If I was a kid I'd want to be on the show.

Utech, you're missing out on a great show. It's unfortunate you judge a show before even watching an episode.

I think Back To You will be funny, but it's comes in second to Kid Nation.

 
at 9/20/2007 12:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

nope I watched back to you. I really liked it esp fred williard. How did the two compare in the cincy market with the ratings Kiese?

 
at 9/20/2007 1:11 PM Blogger Brian said...

Back to you was excellent. It was nice seeing James Burrows directing. Aww, I miss Cheers.

 
at 9/20/2007 1:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked it! The second half hour was much better than the first "set up" half. Yes, it's a bit contrived - and even if the kids didn't choose the leaders, they are learning to work as a group - which is what we all end up doing in life. At least you can watch it with your kids - and it's not as mindless as singing bee, idol, deal, or survivor. I'd much rather my kids watch this than Back To You (which I also watched and was so-so, but hopefully will improve).

 
at 9/20/2007 4:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like most of the coutry, Back To You won the 8pm half hour over but Kid Nation increased in the 8:30pm half hour

 
at 9/20/2007 10:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched Kid Nation. I thought it was pretty good.I think the build-up about the show was misleading. It was kind of like Survivor with kids but without a lot of hardship on the kids. I will watch it next week and see where it goes. I taped Back to You. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I;m not much of a Patricia Heaton fan, but I do like Fred Willard.

 
at 9/21/2007 12:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watched Back To You online (Kid Nation was on dvr'ed). B2U was funny. I watched a free episode on iTunes. Kid Nation gets higher preference on the dvr, so it looks like B2U will be watched online if FOX makes the show available online. If not, then I'll wait for the reruns.

I also watched a preview of Big Bang Theory online. It was kinda funny, but I don't know if people will want to hang out with geeks for 22 shows. That's a bit too much geek for me.

 
at 9/21/2007 3:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This show is sort of like watching Cincinnati City Council in action. By the way, do we have a Mayor?

 
at 9/22/2007 10:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If "Kid Nation"follows the "Survivor" boilerplate the producers will probably foster revolution at some point and the kids will elect their own leaders.

I agree with the "root beer in shot glasses" comments. I was dreading that we'd start seeing kids dressed as dance-hall girls (Welcome, pedophile viewers!)

 
at 9/25/2007 10:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to you beat kid nation last week

KID NATION-CBS
8:00 - Rating - 7.50 Share - 13
8:15 - Rating - 8.28 Share - 14

BACK 2 YOU-FOX
8:00 - Rating - 8.84 Share - 15
8:15 - Rating - 8.75 Share - 15

 
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