The ABC-TV program 20/20 will air a contest between five couples on the show this Friday — the winners get to adopt a real-live, pooping, crying baby. So, let me get this straight. You can't say "fuck," but you can broadcast a raffle for a human being? Snip from SJ Merc story:
"What's that? You say the program and host Barbara Walters have gone too far this time? What do you know about television? ABC knows a winner when it sees it and this is Nielsen gold, my friend. A reality show with a human life on the line — all disguised as news programming.
Let the other shows have half-naked people betraying each other on a deserted island. Give them the half-naked people eating buckets of bug eyes. And the half-naked people putting up with Donald Trump. And the half-naked people trying to get other half-naked people to marry them."
UPDATE: Stop press! The real scandal here? Celebrity spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller is outraged at news of the 20/20 baby giveaway episode. He's planning legal action, and claims he owns a worldwide patent on any reality TV show that involves winning a baby. "I will speak to my patent attorney," says Geller, "I own the idea." Whatever, dear BoingBoing readers, but let me set the record straight: I own the patent on any reality-TV show involving live mudwrestling smackdowns between Uri Geller and Barbara Walters, and I will personally bend the spoon of anyone who forgets it. Link to Reuters story.
UPDATE 2: BoingBoing reader Kevin T. Keith says: "As a matter of fact, Uri Geller does hold a patent for a reality TV show that involves competing to adopt a baby. You can view the patent by going to the Patent and Trademark Office's Applications search page here and entering the phrase "in/geller-uri" (without quotation marks) in the large search window. The world gets weirder and weirder."
UPDATE 3: BoingBoing reader Marc Ascolese, who is a patent attorney, says — more or less — not so fast, mister spoonbender:
The link included above takes you to the search site for published U.S. patent applications (not issued patents). This does not mean that a U.S. Patent has been granted. Under certain circumstances, the USPTO requires applications to be published. In fact, if you go here, and enter the application number for Geller's patent application (09/757609) you can see some current status information. Basically, the application has not been examined yet. Because this application has been classified in U.S. Class 705, we can expect that it will be examined pretty rigorously. It may be a long time before Geller has an issued U.S. Patent he can enforce. Class 705 is where most "business method" type applications end up. For more about that, look here. Who said being a patent attorney was dull!