So, you want to be a reality show contestant? If you do, make sure you read through your contestant application. You’ll find some important information there. Things you’d want to know before signing your name. Here’s Fox’s application for the next season of American Idol (you’ll need to have Adobe’s PDF reader installed to view the document).
I’ll highlight a few points:
“I grant to Producers and its successors, licensees and assigns, the irrevocable right, but not the obligation, with or without my knowledge, to film, tape and/or photograph, record, exhibit, edit and otherwise use my appearance, name, likeness, voice, singing voice, conversation, sounds and biographical data on or in connection with the Program in any manner in Producer’s sole election and discretion, which use shall not entitle me to receive to receive any compensation whatsoever.”
In other words, if you’re the worst singer in the world, you’re giving American Idol the right to replay your humiliating audition over, and over, and over, and over, until the end of time. And if they put together one of those “worst of” DVDs, and replay your audition footage…no money for you!
Suppose you’re a musician and you audition for American Idol…and you make it! You’re on television! What’s that? You want to perform an original number on the show? Sure, go for it! Just keep this in mind:
“In the event I perform original music on the Program written or controlled by me, I hearby grant to Producer, without charge, the rights necessary to perform such music on the Program and the rights required to exploit the Program and the ancillary rights therein, inclusive of the music, in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, or for any other purpose, throughout the universe in perpetuity.”
In other words…American Idol can play your music forever without paying you royalties. Good deal, huh?
And this is a good one:
“I understand that I may reveal, and other parties may reveal, information about me that is of a personal, private, embarrassing or unfavorable nature, which information may be factual and/or fictional. I further understand that my appearance, depiction and/or portrayal in the Program may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature which may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation. I acknowledge and agree that Producer shall have the right to (a) include any or all such information and appearances, depictions or portrayals in the Program as edited by Producer in its sole discretion, and (b) to broadcast and otherwise exploit the Program containing any or all such information and appearances, depictions or portrayals in any manner whatsoever in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, or for any other purpose, throughout the universe in perpetuity.”
Which means, if Simon says something mean and makes you cry, American Idol will be able to replay that moment over…and over…and over…and over…forever. Oh, and there’s an embarrassing moment from your past that someone helpfully tells the producers? Get ready to have your dirty laundry aired to the world.
With all of that said…do you need to borrow a pen to sign your application?