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TV contestants to compete for woman's kidneys


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A Dutch reality television show in which a terminally ill woman is to select one of three contestants to receive her kidneys when she dies is to air this week despite criticism that it pushes the boundaries of the format too far.


The government has called for De Grote Donorshow (The Big Donor show) to be dropped because it is "unethical" and "wretched" but the broadcaster BNN said it would go ahead to highlight the difficulties of searching for kidney donors.


In the show, due to be broadcast on Friday, a woman identified only as Lisa, 37, will select a recipient based on their history, profile and conversations with their families and friends. Throughout the 80-minute show, viewers will be invited to send Lisa text messages to advise her.


The ruling coalition parties the Christian Democrats and the Christian Union have condemned the show.


But BNN's chairman, Laurens Drillich, said the show would increase by a third the participants' chances of getting a new kidney. "The chance for a kidney for the contestants is 33%," he said. "This is much higher than that for people on a waiting list. You would expect it to be better, but it is worse."


BNN said it wanted to focus on the plight of kidney sufferers as a tribute to its founder, Bart de Graaff, who died of kidney failure five years ago in spite of several transplants.


There is evidence that an increasing number of Dutch viewers have been turning away from reality TV, of which the Netherlands is a pioneer, because they believe the subject matter too risque. One show to come under the spotlight is Spuiten en Slikken (Shooting and Swallowing) in which the presenters experiment with drugs and a range of sexual exploits.


Patty's Fort celebrated colonic irrigation, with the scatological remains shown in full on screen.


But attempts in 2005 to launch a sperm donor show, in which a woman was to select a father for her baby in front of the cameras, collapsed following a huge public outcry.




one word.. ruthless

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