Mark Burnett, MySpace Team Up for a Competition to Pick a Political Candidate

burnettpolitc.jpgWe checked our calendars, just to be sure, but – nope – it’s not April 1. That means either someone at MediaPost Publications has it wrong, or this here story is true:

Just in time for the next presidential election, reality TV impresario Mark Burnett is taking his brand of entertainment to MySpace, with a competition aimed at picking a political candidate.

The new show, Independent, will feature contestants vying for votes via interactive town halls and the like. The show, which also will include a TV component, will award the winner $1 million to be used to further a political goal, through either donations to political action groups, donations to form a new political party or to fund the winner’s own campaign.

MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe boasts in a statement that the show will do no less than ‘help reshape the face of American politics.’

While that probably overstates the case, the show seems to have the potential to at least help reshape Internet programming. In fact, in some ways, the combination of a reality show with politics appears uniquely suited to the Web.

People already are used to getting political information online; many users have proven eager to participate in political discussions on the Web. In fact, some of the blogosphere’s most passionate participants are devoted to political debate. From Little Green Footballs, to Daily Kos, to Wonkette, a good number of the most influential and best read blogs have centered on goings-on in Washington.

Also, politics — unlike trivia shows or celebrity gossip — seems to mix well with the Web. The anything-goes nature of the Internet might benefit would-be politicians; it certainly should help distinguish them from the leading candidates, who go out of their way to stick to the lines that have been vetted by professional consultants.

In related news, FBLA will be moving our headquarters to Toronto.