Friday, November 24, 2006

10 Reasons Why Project Fame Isn't Famous Yet

First of all, we are very happy that Tusker (am I allowed to mention that brand here? Unajua hii ni site ya ma-under 18) was bold enough to promote the local TV industry. I would also like to laud NTV (who seem to be featuring a lot on this blog) for their continued support of our fledgling television industry. Project Fame (I have decided to omit the sponsors name coz I feel a moral and ethical conflict) is a..err…umm…project that will no doubt lay a firm foundation for creating a robust TV Production industry. That is why I feel it is of paramount importance that Project Fame succeeds as a TV property, if we are to take our Television Production industry to the next level. Whether it succeeds in selling tonnes of beer for the sponsor is a topic for another day.

So this week, I will put my career on the line, and attempt to give 10 reasons as to whether Project Fame will blow or bomb. When Tusker Project Fame premiered on TV, I spent numerous man (person)-hours before the screen watching the show; I even gave up Cuando Seas Mia in search for that elusive star. After a few evictions and house drama I appointed myself a judge and executioner of the Tusker Project Fame.

Made in Kenya

Though Project Fame isn’t a Kenyan concept, the fact that is being produced and managed by an almost all-Kenyan team is a major plus for the TV Production industry. The mere fact that this project (no pun intended) got the green light is a sign that more locally produced shows with big budgets are more likely than not, going to hit our tubes soon. What puzzles me is why Kenya’s biggest TV blockbuster, with an estimated production budget of about 80 million bob, should be of ‘Vioja Mahakamani’ quality.

Verdict: 4/10

International Specifications

When you compare Kenya’s version to the South African Project Fame it becomes a tale of two worlds. This production doesn’t have the super star pull the original one had. For a monster budget production, I’m simply searching for something to look forward to. Endemol are known for their great creativity - look at their track record; Big Brother Africa, Survivor Africa…What went wrong here? I mean this is a franchise; there are certain standards that have to be met here irrespective of which country the show is being produced. And don’t tell me that we don’t have the personnel, we’ve seen locally produced shows that are of higher standards. Why the raw deal?

Verdict: 3/10

Makeup and Appearance

I thought the principal rule of TV production is the appearance. I mean people, you’re on TV, hello? Our contestants in the house tend to look well, bland. Stars (or upcoming stars for that) are not normal people. Stars are out of this world. The students in the academy should have at least some amount of make up when they are in the house. Didge looked like an international star while on Project Fame, but when he came back he had the pararad look that mortals like you and me have. My point? Make up!

Now we move on to the clad, kwani the clad sponsors can’t hook the contestants up with more variety when they are in the house? These contestants are wearing the same clad like everyday bana!

Verdict: 4/10


This I say from the mouths of Project Fame junkies, their exact words, most of the students in the academy lack the talent. I say, they lack proper direction, and it doesn’t help that they are bombarded weekly with bad reviews, like, “If I was your grand mother I would have thrown you out with the bath water, and if I knew you had ambitions to so much as touch a musical instrument, I would have taken you to a loony bin to waste away your days.” So far, so good, the chuff has been separated form the grain, stay tuned to see what talent is all about.

Verdict: 5/10

The Judges

Every time I watch the Saturday and Sunday shows I cringe, gag and literary hunch on my fours from all the bile the judges dish out. The make-up on them is still not working the magic it should, and their petulant attitude isn’t that pretty either. Take Ian Mbugua for instance, the dude is a popular thespian we all know and respect. One look at him and what you see is a sweet teddy bear. So why does the baba play Dr. Evil? It just comes off as unnatural. Remember when Sylvester Stallone tried to get into comedy or when Mariah Carey tried acting? I guess it’s too late now, but the producers should have cast the judges’ and their personality more appropriately.

Verdict: 5/10

The Missing Host or Is It Hostess?

Ok, will someone please tell me what’s going on here? First Barbara Guantai hosts the show, then I think it was Sheila Mwanyigha or was it Nikii? Then that Ugandan dude…does the show have guest hosts or are they filling in for the cat from Kampala? It would be nice if someone told me like a week in advance that so and so will be hosting the show. Am confused, I really am…

Verdict: 4/10

The TA’s Brief

‘Who is Smarter Now’ was her forte, and guess what? It’s a reality show! Now why in Mulungu’s name would you get a personality from one reality show and bring them into another? This same rationale should also have been applied when selecting the initial host for the show. Project Fame just doesn’t do mama Reg much justice.

Helen Okoth is the only teacher who gets across her message clearly and concisely, her eyes, well…those are not contacts.

Tedd Josiah is like the cutest guy in the house with his unsmiling ways he imparts the required knowledge without even cracking a smile. But, dude, you are on camera smile and say cheers at least once.

Ian the dance instructor is hot before, during and after practice, you only get see him like once in the show and if you happen to wink you might miss him.

The Principal, Achieng Abura is aiight, coz I never see her doing much other than defending her students, if all Princys can borrow a leaf from her, life in high school would be heavenly.

Verdict: 7/10

The House Atmosphere

What people look for when they are watching reality shows is the real and natural drama. Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that you ain’t going to get none of that here. If you do, it will be Cedric refusing to wash his plate or Linda and Renee having a catfight over … I don’t really know what, ohh and a flash of Alvan’s blond goatee. Can we have reality television here? Please.

Verdict: 4/10

The Evictions

The evictions will always be a bone of contention for everyone, I personally think that Melton the UG dude, did not deserve to go, he played the piano well, strung the strings on the guitar like Jimmy Hendrix and practically did what was expected of him, so why the eviction? The TZ chic (I forget her name) has no talent at all – aende! Francis on the other hand had it coming, he is such a drama jerk… he reminds me of …oh, I don’t know… Alex Holi. What is it with Kenyans and the camera once it’s on their face? They totally and completely transform into arrogant pissants (am I allowed to use that word here?) ref: Denis Asseto our Kenya star in Survivor Africa

Verdict: 8/10

Show Characters

Finally the Project Fame favourites are Linda for her talent and Prima Donna attitude, Cedric for looking and singing like Ruben Studdard, and Nakaya for her booty. Though the TAs obviously think Paul is the best pet in the entire house, I think it would be a crime and shame if Linda doesn’t win it. She’s Kenyan (no disrespect to our brothers and sisters from UG and TZ but the sponsor is a Kenyan brand), she’s highly talented, she’s got a superstar look, she’s got sex appeal and she’s controversial like a real star.

Verdict: 6/10

Overall Score: 5/10

So there you have it, a 50% score. This means that the show can still be salvaged and in the process our TV Production industry. Why don’t the necessary people take the necessary actions?

By Toni Moraa

Toni is a regular contributor to this blog and she often writes for The Insyder magazine