Finally we’ll find out which injustice is the most worthy!
Note to all TV producers: not everything has to be made into a reality series. More specifically, it is a bad idea to pit activists against each other in a competition to see which cause is the most worthy. Yes, CBS I am talking to you.
In the most deranged premise ever, the broadcasting company is set to premiere The Activist, a reality show that will see activists go head-to-head to promote their cause. Their success – obviously – will be measured by online engagement. The cherry on top? It’s going to be co-hosted by Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianna Hough.
As reported by Deadline, the five-week series will see six activists team up with three public figures (presumably the aforementioned hosts) to work together “to bring meaningful change” to one of three “vitally important world causes”: health, education, and environment. The goal is to create impactful movements that amplify the activists’ message, drive action, and advance them to the G20 Summit in Rome, where they’ll meet with world leaders in the hope of securing funding for their cause.
Wait, it gets better! Whoever gets the most funding wins, naturally, and will then be crowned at a finale that will feature “musical performances by some of the world’s most passionate artists” – presumably... Usher.
“The Activist is a first-of-its-kind competition series that will inspire real change,” said Hugh Evans, the CEO and co-founder of Global Citizen, which is producing the series. “The audience will see the activists’ passion and commitment for their causes tested, as they petition world leaders to take urgent action to resolve the interconnected crises we face.”
Jack Sussman, the EVP of specials, music, live events, and alternative programming at CBS, added: “Combining philanthropy and entertainment, The Activist is a groundbreaking series poised to inspire viewers.” At a time when most people’s activism extends only to performative Instagram infographics, the merging of philanthropy and entertainment doesn’t feel like a key priority, but OK.
Of course, Twitter has had a field day. “They gonna be like, ‘In my hands I have one photo, Aids or women’s equality,” wrote one user. “We believe in your climate advocacy and we are very proud of you, but sadly, you are going home tonight,” joked another. TV writer Raina Morris added: “Going on this show and launching Kony 2021.”
Others have pointed out the more serious problems with the show. “Yeah it would be terrible to make activists satisfy an arbitrary set of metrics to please a disconnected set of wealthy people who control the funding,” said journalist Kate Aronoff.
“This is simply the logical conclusion of slacktivism,” tweeted Twitch streamer Hasan Piker, “and it’s also how philanthropy generally works under a capitalist system.”
For those who hate themselves, you can tune in to CBS and Paramount+ to watch The Activist from October 22. In the meantime, you can see some of the best reactions to the show’s announcement below.