Kid Nation is a new reality show about what happens when forty kids ranging in age from eight to fifteen are set loose to fend for themselves in a New Mexico ghost town. The show is set to premiere on CBS in September, barring any insurmountable legal issues. And what legal issues might those be? Well, for starters, the contract that parents of Kid Nation participants signed to get their offspring on TV have popped up all over the internet. Among the contract's many worrisome clauses was an agreement that the show's producers would make decisions regarding the kids' medical care, while not vouching for the qualifications of providers of said care. And if Junior should pick up, say, an STD in between the fourteen-hour days he's working just to stay alive? Totally not the show's fault. Same deal if he dies. Which you'd think would be grounds for at least a strongly worded letter.
It's not unusual for reality show producers to ask contestants to sign their lives away in exchange for putting them on TV. But when those participants are kids, and it's their parents doing the signing, is a line crossed?
Maybe, maybe not. Such questions are best addressed by better minds than ours. But to help those minds decide, TWoP has discovered a list of additional provisions that were redacted from the published version of the contract. Read carefully, and determine whether you would agree to these items on the behalf of your own child (or, as the contract repeatedly refers to them, "the Minor"). Remember: It's for the children. Check it out:
The Minor must post weekly observations on his or her MySpace page describing something on CBS as "awesome," "rad," or "gnarly." Similar references to shows on competing networks subject the Minor to a $25,000 fine per incidence. If the Minor does not have a MySpace page, the Minor must start one. If the Minor does not have a computer, the Minor must get one.
The Minor agrees to regularly watch CBS programming with his or her grandparents, in an ongoing effort to help skew the network's audience towards a younger demographic.
I agree that the Minor will, if asked, provide unpaid labor during the construction of Les Moonves's new summer home. Minors selected for this project will be compensated for their labor in the form of candy bars and lemonade. Candy bars and lemonade are to be provided by me.
The Minor must precede the name "Julie Chen" with the words "respected journalist" whenever making any verbal, written, or mimed reference to Ms. Chen. "Mimed references" may be interpreted to include obscene gestures, depending on context.