Viewers to pick ‘Desafio’ winners

From the Associated Press

Television viewers in Colombia today will choose who wins the $150,000 prize in “Desafio 20.06,” a “Survivor"-style reality show that pits the rich, poor and in-between against each other.

From an initial crop of 18 contestants, the last men standing were “middle-class” Diego Agudelo, who said he’d use the prize money to set up his own business, and “upper-class” Alfredo Varela, who said he wanted to prove that growing up rich doesn’t necessarily make people soft.

Caracol TV Vice President Cristina Palacios said the show was representative of the glaring social inequalities in Colombia, where most people live on less than $3 a day. But critics say the show glosses over class conflict.

“It reinforces class stereotypes that only promote social divisions,” said German Yances, a prominent TV critic. Either way, the show has been a hit, dominating its time slot and routinely among the five most-watched programs each week.