I have to admit I haven’t seen the TV Nova reality show in question here. I guess it’s something like “Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire,” or “The Bachelor.”

The story’s been all over the tabloid and mainstream press last week. Nova’s behavior – especially when they show ‘erotic films’ on Saturday nights – is puzzling, but I’m going to just go ahead and translate this Lidové noviny story from Thursday, October 8, 2004, which provides a pretty good overview:

Porn destroys Nova’s reality show

“The Couple Worth A Million,” TV Nova’s original reality show, has ended after four episodes because of porn; in addition to contestant Ester Ládová, another contestant was discovered to have filmed porn videos. A third had posed for erotic photographs. “Now this isn’t a show for prime time, and I’ve therefore proposed its cancellation,” ‘Pair Worth A Million’ host and boss Radek John told Lidovky. “A family show has turned into a porn show,” he added. Next Thursday, “Political Harassment” [a political satire/talkshow] will be shown instead.

The porn pasts of other contestants surfaced after the fourth episode’s broadcast, when photographs and video of contestant Ester Ládová were discussed in detail. A second contestant immediately admitted posing for erotic photographs immediately after the broadcast. According to spokesman Johana Indráková, Ládová gained a clear majority of votes, and producers decided to cancel the show. “There was a real threat that viewers would have watched the show to the end and would have voted her the ideal bride,” John said.

Nova editors were informed today [Oct. 8, 2004] that a third contestant had porn experience: she filmed a video where she appears as a partipant in group sex. “When this came to light, I proposed two solutions: either to move the show to a later hour, because this isn’t a show for prime-time, when small children are watching, or to cancel it completely,” John said, explaining the situation surrounding the show’s cancellation. “They said that this was too expensive a show to move to a later hour. We have already pulled all crews from the set,” he added.

Meetings on the show’s future ended around 4 am, and Nova management decided to completely cancel it. “Nova decided to cancel the show even if it meant a financial loss, because their reputation would have been damaged,” John said.

The committee that chose contestants for “Couple Worth A Million” asked all contestants directly if they had acted in porn films or posed for pornographic pictures; all denied any involvement. “Nobody admitted anything. Only Ester Ládová said she posed for some light erotic pictures in her bra, which of course the majority of Czech celebrities have done,” John said.

The reality show, which Nova intended as a follow up to “Czechia Seeks Its SuperStar,” lasted on TV screens for only a month. The first episode was broadcast Sept. 16. 24 participants were chosen in a casting call; 500 showed up.

During the show, contestants had to live together in a pension and perform various tasks. Nova planned to show the week’s edited highlights in prime time. Viewers had to decide which of the contestants would leave the show. The winning pair – if a wedding ensued – would win a million crowns (USD $39,561). Nova was supposed to air the fifth episode the evening of Oct. 14.

UPDATE 17:27 11 Oct 2004: Turns out I was scooped by Radio Prague. Darn it all to heck!.

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