John de Mol is a Dutch television magnate whose trade runs towards, shall we say, less sophisticated forms of entertainment. My first warning of the invasion of "reality" shows came when I was in the Netherlands in 2000 (was it really so recently that I lost my innocence) and saw a program in which a woman was manacled to five men and had to kick one off every day until she was left with the "winner" at the end of the week. This is de Mol's fault as much as anyone's; he invented Big Brother, which spread to other allegedly civilized countries like a plague.
Now de Mol has started a new television channel here, and after only a week on the air, he's stirred up the usual controversy. He's having a meta-reality show, in which the first episode of each of five new reality shows will be aired, and viewers will vote on which series they would like to see continue. My bet, sad to say, is on "I Want a Child from You...and Nothing Else."
(If you'd like to be a contestant for the role of sperm donor, buy your own damn copy of today's Telegraaf and find out what the e-mail address is)