Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment: Who Cares Who Your Daddy Is?




Who Cares Who Your Daddy Is?

This was snagged from Reuters.

Amid a chorus of protests from child-adoption advocates and sneers from critics, the general reactionviewers to the controversial Fox special "Who's Your Daddy?" seemed to be "Who Cares?"

The tear-soaked 90-minute special, featuring an attractive young woman picking her biological father from a lineup filled out with impostors, proved to be a ratings flop, according to preliminary figures on Tuesday from Nielsen Media Research.

The Fox show drew a mere 6.3 million viewers, ranking fourth in its Monday night time slot against competing broadcasts on CBS, ABC and NBC. "Daddy" also trailed its Big Three rivals in ratings for its target audience of viewers aged 18 to 49, the group most prized by advertisers. Critics roundly panned the show as tasteless and exploitative. It opened with a young woman named T.J., who had been adopted as an infant, being introduced to a panel of eight older men, including her real father.

Through three elimination rounds of questioning, the seven pretenders did their best to fool the contestant into thinking they were her true dads. Impostors stood to win $100,000 if they tricked the adopted girl, who would get the $100,000 herself for a correct pick. Some reviews noted the staging in a lavish mansion with lots of candles bore a creepy resemblance to such reality dating shows as "The Bachelor" and "Joe Millionaire."

In the end, however, T.J. prevailed. Weeping through much of the program and dressed for the occasion in a slinky black halter gown, she zeroed in on her real birth father. After granting him forgiveness, she walked away with a cash prize of $100,000. And in a final twist at show's end, Daddy presented T.J. with her real birth mother, along with three younger daughters he fathered by his marriage to another woman.

Word of the show before it aired sparked a deluge of letters and e-mail correspondence from adoptees, parents and national adoption organizations branding the program's concept offensive and urging Fox to cancel it. They said the show makes light of the sensitive emotions surrounding adoption. But producers defended their work, saying all involved were willing and informed participants and they had taken care to conduct the program in a tasteful manner.

A Fox spokesman, Scott Grogin, said the network also heard from numerous adoptees "who found the show useful and empowering." "The past 24 hours, on our Web site, we've gotten dozens of requests from adoptees saying if we do decide to do another show they'd love to be a part of it," Grogin said.