Reality TV Show Casting Call: Perfect for Freakonomics Blog Readers

I received the following e-mail today. If you read this, apply, and make the show, we’ll give you a month’s supply of Freakonomics T-shirts and yo-yos, as long as you agree to wear them on the show:

Hi,

My name is Laina Rose, I’m currently casting a new reality show. You are being contacted because our research team thinks you might be great for the show!

We’re looking for geniuses from all walks of life to become part of Sci Fi’s “Brain Trust” — a super-smart swat team to tackle previously unsolvable problems. But we’re leaving global warming and world peace to the other guys — the “Brain Trust” will solve the every-day, insidious annoyances that vex us all. What’s the most efficient strategy to snag the best parking spot at the mall? How can you make it statistically more likely that you’ll get some action tonight? SCI FI is going to put the best minds and most original thinkers on the case!

We’re looking for people from all disciplines and all walks of life — from rocket scientists to backyard inventors to puzzle fanatics. The only requirements are ingenuity, a knack for out of the box problem solving, and an outgoing personality!

Think you’re up for it? E-mail casting@idiotboxproductions.com with your name, address, contact info, age, and a recent picture. Plus, provide detailed answers to the following questions:

1. What is your educational background?
2. What do you do for a living?
3. Are you a genius? If so, how has this affected your life?
4. Do you have any intellectually rigorous hobbies? How about not-so-intellectually rigorous hobbies?
5. How would your friends describe your personality?
6. If you could put the greatest minds in the country together to solve a single everyday problem OF NO MAJOR SOCIAL IMPORTANCE (i.e. developing a theory of how to pick the fastest line at the supermarket), what would it be? And what out of the box approach would you use to solve it?

Or, if you’re feeling creative (and we like creative!), give us your answers on video, and send the DVD to:

Idiot Box Productions
c/o Casting Department
1419 Wilcox, Suite B
Hollywood, CA. 90028

Casting only lasts for a couple weeks, so send your submissions in ASAP!

The submissions, including the videos, become our property and will not be returned, and we can use the submissions, including videos, in any way we see fit, including, without limitation, in and in connection with any program and any advertisements, promotions and publicity, in any and all media, whether now existing or hereafter discovered.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 323.463.0180.n

Hope to hear from you soon,
Laina Roses


Arsen

No need to participate, everyone knows you're going to win)

umbriago

"Idiot Box Productions" and others of their ilk are why I canceled cable TV.

Evan

How do you wear a yo-yo? Sounds scandalous.

George

I hope someone makes it - I want to see them wear a yo yo on TV!

MS

This actually looks pretty interesting...

Jens Fiederer

How do you determine "a month's supply" in these goods?

danielbasil

4. Do you have any intellectually rigorous hobbies? How about not–so–intellectually rigorous hobbies?

Which question would "making up answers to questions for something i'll never actually apply for while i'm supposed to be booking client meetings for my upcoming california business trip but instead i've been reading blogs all morning and thank god for the time difference" answer 'yes' to?

Jess

I'd totally make jewelry out of the yo-yo. Perhaps a big, blingy medallion, or glue a pin-back to it and put it on a hat.

There, I just solved a problem of no major social importance. Can I be on TV now?

Alie

This has to be some kind of a joke...

discordian

Since I am an engineer and have been working Design and Development in manufacturing since 1990 and, of course, am a super-genius I would conside applying...

If I didn't freakin' HATE 'REALITY' TELEVISION.

Hey! Let's keep the schadenfreude rolling!!! Momma ain't interested in the TV unless someone's getting embarrased.

zbicyclist

I'd say the audition DVD's, if well edited, would be a hoot.

Seriously, though, if I wanted an answer to "How can you make it statistically more likely that you'll get some action tonight?" I wouldn't think asking a genius would be much help.

Cody

Sure this may be considered reality television, but from the description it sounds like it falls more into the realm of "acceptable" reality television, like the "Mythbuster"s and "Dirty Jobs"s and so forth. When you say you hate reality television, certainly you're not including "Survivorman"!

discordian

@12
nah - 'mythbusters' and 'dirty jobs' and such have permanent casts.
This sounds like "The Apprentice" for wannabe Edisons.

Now - if Ron Popiel was to be the Donald for a show like this I'd apply in a flash.
Ron Popeil is god. All hail Ronco!

Rita: Lovely Meter Maid

Since I have *no* desire to ever be on TV, I'll just give those questions a go, right here:

1. What is your educational background?

Answer: an abysmal collection of memories I am trying so very hard to repress...

2. What do you do for a living?

Answer: I'm sorry, but I *never* talk about that!

3. Are you a genius? If so, how has this affected your life?

Answer: In my own mind, I might be one. It's affected me by giving me an extremely affected personality; I go around all day sneering at the less intelligent masses of common humanity. It's not right. I should be showing them pity, not this sort of arrogance.

4. Do you have any intellectually rigorous hobbies? How about not–so–intellectually rigorous hobbies?

Answer: Intellectually rigorous hobbies, you ask? Well, keeping abreast of all the celebrity gossip out there is NOT as easy as you might think, people, so you can all just can those snide and judgmental attitudes. As for less rigorous hobbies, let me just say that creating those big-eyed paintings of children is quite Demanding artform. Especially if you work with crushed velvet, like I do.

5. How would your friends describe your personality?

Answer: What friends? Well, my *Imaginary* friends would heap on the accolades, rest assured!

6. If you could put the greatest minds in the country together to solve a single everyday problem OF NO MAJOR SOCIAL IMPORTANCE (i.e. developing a theory of how to pick the fastest line at the supermarket), what would it be? And what out of the box approach would you use to solve it?

Answer: I Never think out of the box, myself, and I certainly do not approve of others doing so, either. Still, I've always wanted to have envelopes created that are Guaranteed to Not give you a paper cut. Any kind of paper, really. I hate those cuts! I'd have everyone working on that one, night and day, day and night, almost like a think-tank sweatshop factory. That's the level of dedication that *I* bring to any mental task, so I'd expect just as much rigor from all the brainiacs, you bet'cha!

Read more...

Michael

"What's the most efficient strategy to snag the best parking spot at the mall? How can you make it statistically more likely that you'll get some action tonight? [...] developing a theory of how to pick the fastest line at the supermarket?"

Best parking spot: Redefine 'best' to mean 'lets me get some exercise' and park in one of the numerous free spaces distant from the store's entrance.

Getting action tonight: Hire a prostitute.

Fastest line at supermarket: Shoplift instead, thereby avoid queueing at all.

Where do I pick up my PhD?

Kim

I vote for Michael from comment #15 for the show. That was hilarious!

Seth

Actually, to whoever said it wasn't real; it is real.

http://www.realitytvlinks.com/articles/cc091807.html

It even has a MySpace page.

I think you guys aren't being creative enough.

Think about some of these tasks.

What is the best (read cleanest and quickest) way to get CD and DVD cases open?

If you were homeless, what would be the easiest way to get, and continue to get food, without stealing it?

If a glass is broken in a pool, what is the best way to get it ALL cleaned up the quickest without draining the pool?

What REALLY works the best for stopping the blood after you nicked yourself shaving?

What is the ideal length of a drinking straw? Too short it won't work. Too long it's a waste of plastic.

If you had to travel a distance greater than one hundred miles on land under your own power (read no engines or solar power etc...), what is the best way to go?

When is faster to take the drive-thru, or go inside (or vice versa) at a fast food restaurant?

Those are all I could think of in ten minutes. Maybe they will spark some discussion.

Read more...

Doug

How to improve the odds I'll get some action tonight. Offer more money than the next guy!

Nicole

This is something I find rather amusing and may apply if only because I have a deep affection for yo-yo's. Granted it depends on how much a months supply of yo-yo's actually is.

festdaddy

Yeah, what a great idea! Let's assemble some of the greatest minds of our generation, and apply it to...nothing of any importance whatsoever. What a wasteful idea. Perhaps the first pressing issue they can tackle is how to rid society of the worthless crap that passes for entertainment.