Saturday, February 4, 2012

Endorsements in Reality

Now that reality television show host Donald Trump has climbed off the fence and formally endorsed Mitt Gingrich…I mean Newt Romney…I mean MITT ROMNEY, the sweepstakes to land the endorsement of the remaining reality show hosts has heated up, and should continue to burn brightly during this debate-free lull in the election calendar.  The 4 major Republican candidates for the nomination each vowed to do whatever it took to claim the mantle of Reality TV Show Celebrity Host Candidate of Choice.

The most coveted endorsers still uncommitted are Jeff Probst of Survivor, Julie Chen of Big Brother, Ryan Seacrest of American Idol, but the biggest “get” is generally agreed to be Tom Bergeron, the hard working host of both Dancing With the Stars and America’s Funniest Home Videos.

“The Tom Bergeron endorsement is to the modern political candidate what the Bill Cullen/Gene Rayburn endorsement of yesteryear was – a ticket to the top of the likability charts with swing voters,” said Mary Hart from the set of Entertainment Tonight.  Mary Hart is currently neutral in the nomination battle.  “He personifies the typical hard working American that every candidate imagines still exists.”

The challenge for the contestants in the GOP field is to match the endorser with the candidate overall strategy and message.  For example, while exercise guru Jillian Michaels has a large following, having your campaign associated with The Biggest Loser might not be what the doctor ordered.

“It’s not that we don’t want the votes of the chronically out of shape. We do.  We just don’t want to be seen with them,” said a senior staff member of the Romney campaign.  “Now, if the show was called ‘The Biggest Winner’, we’d be interested.”
Ron Paul plans to announce the support of Bret Michaels, former rock star turned celebrity reality show host of Rock of Love, this week during a swing through Las Vegas where Michaels is filming a spin-off to his hit show.  The new show, called Rock of Lust, plans to match the performer with anonymous women for casual, commitment-free sexual encounters, an ideal message for the libertarian candidate’s youthful following obsessed with freedom without accountability.

Some celebrity reality TV host endorsements have been accepted by the candidates with minimal fanfare to avoid any unfavorable publicity.  Mitt Romney was endorsed by Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but his political team feared that a public endorsement event might remind voters that Romney favors home mortgage liquidations and creative destruction in the pursuit of profits.  “The Democratic machine would roll out misleading video footage of homes being demolished while families watched on iPads, and that visual would be tough to overcome for voters once tied to our candidate.  We also felt that the signature tag line “Move that bus!” would be perceived as insulting to former Governor Palin.  She can park that thing anywhere she’d like, and we would welcome her support.”

Some celebrity reality TV show hosts are having trouble getting the candidates to accept their offers of a high profile endorsement.  Chris Hanson of Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator lamented, “No one will take my calls.  I don’t get it.  I’m Chris Hanson.”

The active candidates have all but conceded the endorsement of Sister Angelica of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) to practicing Catholic and father of 7 Rick Santorum.  Mr. Santorum faces a challenge however with the rumored endorsement coming from Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8.  Internal campaign sources are hopeful that how Kate Gosselin became pregnant will not detract from the positive fact that she allowed all of the babies to live.  “We hope her story can be a net positive for us,” the source offered. 
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is going for the bold idea of rolling out the Chris Harrison endorsement on Valentine’s Day.  Harrison, host of ABC’s mega-hits The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, has been coy and playing hard to get with the candidate, but Gingrich is hopeful to receive his political rose before Super Tuesday polls open.

Senior advisors close to Gingrich question whether having their candidate close to a show that rotates love interests every season is too close to the candidate’s own reality.  Gingrich plans to blame the media and move forward with the public endorsement event.

“I will not allow Romney to corner the celebrity reality TV show host endorsement market without a fight,” Newt thundered from the podium.  “I am taking this fight all the way to sweeps week!”

The fight for the celebrity reality TV show host endorsement is best summed up by news anchor Tom Brokaw.  “It’s been The Amazing Race so far, hasn’t it?”

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