Simon Fuller Aims For Social Networking TV Reality Hit

By Sarah Hughes: It seems all too familiar: five young people move into a house together in a series that follows them as they shoot for stardom in Hollywood. But while If I Can Dream, the new show from the pop and TV impresario Simon Fuller, may sound like a cross between Big Brother, The Real World and Pop Idol, it’s altogether more ambitious.
For a start, the five aspiring stars have agreed to allow the cameras to track them 24/7. And in addition to the weekly episodes, which will be shown on from tomorrow, there will be a live streaming feed at and, in the show’s most audacious move, a chance for new hopefuls to win a place in it via a public vote and an open worldwide audition.
That global audition is all part of If I Can Dream’s push to be the first reality TV hit of the social networking era. The hope is that it will become a blogging mainstay, disseminated through Twitter and uploaded on mobile phones.
“I am determined to continue pushing the boundaries of mainstream entertainment,” Fuller has said. “The next frontier is the video world of authentic real-time interaction. It is time the public got to see the truth behind what it takes to launch the careers of young artists.”
The man behind Pop Idol, So You Think You Can Dance? and the Spice Girls is rarely wrong about trends and if this latest idea takes off it will change the way in which we watch television, paving the way for other producers to cut TV networks out of the loop altogether.
But how likely is Fuller’s vision of a real-life Truman Show in which the curtain concealing the factory that makes stars is torn down Wizard of Oz-style?
Cynics will question whether in an age of scripted reality shows such as The Hills or MTV’s latest hit, Jersey Shore, it is possible to show “the truth”; and it’s hard not to wonder if the soon-to-be-famous five realise what they’re getting into. “We don’t want to be reality stars, we want to be star stars,” one of them, Amanda Phillips, said. “Our show’s not about sticking a bunch of short-fused people in a small space with a lot of alcohol and seeing what happens. If it was, none of us would be here.”
But is that the reality? Only the show’s God, Fuller, really knows.

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..