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Dutch TV To Air 'Kidney Competition' Reality Show

A Dutch TV station says it will go ahead with a programme in which a terminally ill woman selects one of three patients to receive her kidneys.

Political parties have called for 'The Big Donor Show' to be scrapped, but broadcaster BNN says it will highlight the country's shortage of organ donors. The programme, from Big Brother creators Endemol, is due to be screened on Friday night.

The 37-year-old donor, identified only as Lisa, will make her choice based on the contestants' history, profile and conversation with their family and friends. Viewers will also be able to send in their advice by text message during the 80-minute show.

The Dutch donor authority and kidney specialists have condemned the show.

"The scenario portrayed in this programme is ethically totally unacceptable," said Professor John Feehally. "The show will not further understanding of transplants. Instead it will cause confusion and anxiety."

BNN chairman Laurens Drillich has defended the show. "The chance for a kidney for the contestants is 33%," said Drillich. "This is much higher than that for people on a waiting list."

"We think that is disastrous, so we are acting in a shocking way to bring attention to this problem."

TV critics have expressed horror, one writing: "My first reaction, probably everyone's reaction, is that this is as dangerously near as we've got to a TV programme playing God."

"People may live or die on the result of a game show. It's a step too far."

May 30, 2007 |

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