After a series of events and unforeseen connections I found myself in talks with Nelonen TV channel and the production company behind the local version of the TV-series The Bachelor.
They have done 13 seasons of the show in the US, and 1 here locally. The first/only season of the local Bachelor is remembered as something that divided opinions to say the least. It is entirely up to question whether or not the show is well-suited to the local culture in this country at all. Americans have a long history of positive publicity and to be on the telly there carries no negative notions. Finland on the other hand has developed a cultural climate for centuries where almost any self-promotion is shunned upon and to be in the public eye automatically means that the person must be at least insincere, doing it for the money, or just sick for attention. Sounds very finnish, doesn't it? ;)
I had all of these doubts when I started talking about "doing the show". I have a feeling that the finnish business world tries to maintain an image of not treating celebrity business people well - but that's not quite true. There seems to be a generational gap here: older people automatically have more negative reaction towards the issue, while the younger don't mind as much. And being famous like Jari Sarasvuo will certainly open up many doors for you. So saying "yes" was in the realm of possibility.
Many had the feeling that the first local version of the show left some things to be improved, and I got the feeling that the production company wanted to step up the game and improve the whole format as well. I have always been the kind of person that takes everything too personally, so doing a very personal TV show is quite different from doing a simple interview to a business paper. However I did feel flattered, and it is nice that they asked.
The "deal" of being The Bachelor is infinitely better for the dude than it is for the girls. The format has every reason to present their bachelor in the best possible light, where as the entire "hook" of the format is the tension, drama and catfights between the girls.
If I was to do the show it should have to be done right. So I phoned up PR experts and many famous people I have worked with and asked for their views on how it could be done - or could it be done so that I don't come off it being the next Johanna Tukiainen? I also talked about topics like getting in better physical shape and such ;). What was a bit of surprise to me was that everyone I talked to seemed to say that the benefits will outweight the negatives. Also the PR people had a plan: apparently it is possible to agree and built two tracks of publicity: the show having its own life, and everything else being on different track. That way ending up with the image of Susanna Sievinen would be far less likely - I mean you have to really try hard to end up with that image, right?
In the end it turned out that the shooting schedule for the show was such a huge conflict with my other endeavors that it could not be done. I'm sure it would have been lots of fun, surreal and absurd, exactly the kind of thing appeals to me as being very interesting. Spending about a full month abroad shooting a TV show every day, plus pickup shoots later for a month or two, didn't seem possible. My mom seemed pretty happy that it didn't happen :) - as did just about everyone (minus one) of my female friends (what's up with that?).
What do you think; would you do it yourself? Should I have? Is my 'generational gap' claim true? How would you feel about someone doing this and then being a professional in the same industry as you are?