Big Donor Show wins Emmy

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The Big Donor Show which made headlines around the world and was branded tasteless and unethical has won an Emmy in New York.

25 November 2008

NEW YORK – A hoax Dutch television show in which three desperately ill contestants vied with one another to be given a donor kidney has won an Emmy in New York.
The Big Donor Show was billed as the ultimate reality show, but was in fact a fake. It was designed to highlight the scarcity of donated organs in the Netherlands.

At Monday's Emmy Awards, it came top in the "best non-scripted entertainment" category.
In the Big Donor Show, there were three patients who appeared to be willing to do anything to win the kidney being offered by a terminally ill woman.

At the end of the programme, it was revealed that the woman was an actress and the offer of the donated kidney was a hoax. The contestants were all in on the deception. They were taking part in the programme in order to publicise the plight of patients in the Netherlands who have to wait an average of four years for donor organs.
The small independent television company BNN went ahead with broadcasting the programme in June 2007, despite the enormous controversy in the Netherlands generated by the pre-show publicity. Many condemned it as the worst in reality television and called for the authorities to stop it being shown.

BNN was founded by Bart de Graaff who himself was a kidney patient. He underwent a number of kidney transplants and died at the age of 35.
 On its website, BNN says 1,088 people in the Netherlands are on the waiting list to receive a donor kidney. The average waiting time is four years. The lack of donor organs results in hundreds of kidney patients dying each year.

In October 2008, Dutch MPs rejected the idea of registering all citizens as organ donors unless they specifically opt out.  

Patrick Lodiers, who fronted the show, was one of those who accepted the award in New York's Hilton Hotel. In his acceptance speech, he clarify that the programme had been a hoax as it was not clear from the clip shown at the awards ceremony or in the citation.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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