The Best TV Idea for Politics & Election Season

Last night, while brushing my teeth, I came up with a genius idea for a TV show. This is a rough sketch, but I think I’ve got a nugget of goodness.

It combines everything Americans love most:

  • competition
  • proving themselves right
  • making others listen to their ideas
  • watching someone else squirm

One thing I get so frustrated by is that people watch / read the news every day — but only what they want to see and hear.

What’s even worse than having our biases constantly confirmed is that fact-checking is something that has to be actively sought out — it’s never done in the moment (I almost wish things got bleeped out in the moment for being false).

Maybe a competitive TV show about politics might force people of various political ideologies (you know, like America) to pay a bit of attention to the various things being said.

Even if people later want to argue and debate over the fact-checking, then there’s a conversation around the facts that isn’t always front and center (instead focusing on appearances or likability).


Two identical rooms, each with a chair, television, and a buzzer.

A control room with a person assigned to manage each room.


Two participants play the game, each from different sides of the political spectrum or different parties or that support different candidates. Key point: difference of opinion.

They each choose a 30-minute episode of a news show aired within the past week, like The O’Reilly Factor or The Rachel Maddow Show or Last Week Tonight or even an actual Presidential Debate.

Each person has to watch the episode the other person chose. If they quit partway through, they lose 5x points for each minute not watched.

While watching, each person can buzz at any point they think the speaker is making a false claim — an automatic fact-check.

The shows have been pre-researched on every point, so the control room is ready at any buzz to pause the show and flash the screen showing true/false and give supporting evidence.

If the person was correct (i.e.: the statement was false), then they get a point. If they were wrong (i.e.: the statement was true), they lose a point.

At the end of the game, whoever has the most points wins — maybe it’s a donation to the candidate of their choice? Scholarship money? Ideally something useful + related, but I suppose even just a straightforward cash prize is fine.

So… how do we get this on television before November?

Katherine is a digital nomad, working remotely while she travels the world — on the road since June 2014. She’s a member of Remote Year 2 Battuta, living around the world with 75 other digital nomads from February 2016 to January 2017.

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