Saturday, January 12, 2008

Corkscrewed: What where they thinking?

In response to a suggestion that my husband and I are both addicted to the internet, we are going to try to institute an internet-free Sunday. However, I could not resist blogging about one last thing before I log off.

In 2006, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, the producers of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, starred in the reality series Corkscrewed: The Wrath of Grapes in which viewers are invited to watch their kooky adventures buying and running a vineyard, with guest appearances by Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul.

If you're in the demographic of mature wine connoisseurs who also secretly love to watch reality talent shows, or 18-25 year olds with a private collection of wine in their cellar, then this is clearly the show for you! The rest of us are scratching their heads. This ran on the Fox Reality channel--did anyone watch this?

I do not understand how this show got greenlit --it is not exactly a fish-out-of-water story when a pair of millionaires "rough it" by buying a vineyard, as it was for Paris Hilton in The Simple Life. I understand the whole idea of The Long Tail, which is why this is now being offered for web syndication by Hulu, but how long would it take for Fox to recoup its money on this clunker? And did Ford and Axe Body Spray, which appear in advertisements peppered throughout this show, have any say into whether they wanted to sponsor a show about two oxford-wearing brits, instead of, say, an episode of Family Guy?

While I would love to review these shows for the sheer obscurity of it, I cannot bring myself to watch them, only the first minute of them. My favorite quote, therefore, is the intro to Episode Six, where Idol judge, friend and potential co-investor Simon Cowell says "OK, two years time, they've lost all their money, the whole thing's a disaster, do I help them? No. But what I would be prepared to do is to give them advice on future projects."

I am also prepared to give advice on future projects--Rupert, do not to invest in a show that features millionaires unless they are firing people or giving cows rectal exams. Vanity projects, even ones that are a bust, are not nearly as marketable as abject humiliation. Nonetheless, I will help Mr. Murdoch, because he must be really down on his luck after this lemon: if you truly love reality shows, here are the complete episodes of Corkscrewed via Hulu. But if you truly love wine, you'd be much better off checking out the blog of my friend Alder at

1) To Buy or Not To Buy: American Idol executive producers, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, decide to buy a Vineyard (with a little help from some of their famous friends, including Simon Cowell, Randy J...

3) All Fired Up: With problems mounting, American Idol executive producers, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, hold a crisis meeting to try to decide what to do about their troubled vineyard.

4) The Wine School: Ken and Nigel enroll in a crash course for running a winery. Meanwhile, gophers and squirrels are getting into the vineyard.

5) A Crushing Blow: Nigel and Ken head for Pasa Robles to try to turn their fortunes around. Later, back in Los Angeles, it's the day when the Emmy Awards are handed out. With their fourth nominati...

6) Sweet Dreams or Sour Grapes: Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick finally meet the man who cancelled a major contract to buy their fruit. Later, they finally see the fruits of their labors as they witness their fi...

7) The Grape Escape: Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick witness the enormous damage that wild boars have done to their vineyard. Later, visiting their winemaker, Nigel and Ken see there is hope that one ...

8) Parades, Parties and Pioneers: Nigel attends Priscilla Presley's party and is arrested. Ken has to handle the American Idol auditions in Memphis...alone.

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