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  • Paul Davidson

Premiere of The Benefactor

I watched the premiere of The Benefactor last night.

Mind you, as I had just moved and currently had no cable or DirecTV, I had to bully a friend into letting me come over and watch. Mind you, it was supposed to start at 8pm but didn’t start here on the West Coast until 9:15 because of the game. I fear, deep down, that being delayed by Monday Night Football may have a negative effect on the show.

As for the show itself, I can see the seams.

The problem for me, being involved in production and post production was that I saw every single moment from every day of production. So when you see it neatly packed into six acts over the course of a 43 minute television program (amidst the commercials), you ask yourself where this thing was or where that thing was. I was amused, however, to see that I am actually in the opening of the show (you see Mark sitting and eating at a diner with a guy next to him wearing a hat and a blue and yellow numbered t-shirt…I’m the guy sitting next to him)…

I was also amused to see that the sizzle reel I produced for the show…that ABC took the rhythm and shots I put together with the editor and used it as a teaser for the rest of the season of the show. It was good work on my part, obviously, as it was re-used and re-cut by the Network…but in a very similar way.

But the real question is…will the show succeed?

Knowing what I know about what’s in store for the remaining 13 contestants, I can tell you that if people give it a chance they won’t be disappointed. But there will be people who will never return based on their inability to “track the game.” What I mean by that is that since it’s Mark’s game and the rules change based on his every whim, people have a hard time figuring out how people can win or lose. The Apprentice is easy to track — two teams, one goal…team who reaches that goal quicker or with better results wins. Losing team sacrifices someone up for the slaughter.

Here, Mark Cuban decides. He knows what it takes to be a success. Things like competitiveness, someone’s ability to shine, be creative, independent, funny, a risk-taker… Those are the things that he will look for in contestants… If they can shine in open-ended challenges that are dependent on them thinking creatively, they just may win. If they can’t — buh-bye.

When I finished working on the show, I can tell you that I became quite fond of a handful of the contestants. These are good, real, genuine people who go through some real changes based on the experience they shared. If you hang in there, you’ll see it.

If you don’t — I won’t blame you. There’s just too much similar fare on TV these days and sometimes, some shows have to take the bullet for it.

The Benefactor premiere episode re-airs this Thursday at 8pm on ABC. If anything, you can watch it again to see my name in the credits.

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