11 potential reality television shows about writing

Could authors compete in a show like "Dancing With the Stars" (as Monica Seles with her dance partner Jonathan Roberts did in 2008)?
(Kelsey McNeal / Associated Press)
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Italy is launching “Masterpiece,” a reality television show for aspiring authors, the New York Times reports. Could we get our own version soon? Producers do often take successful foreign reality shows and retool them for the American market.

Hoping that’s the case, here are 11 possible reality shows for authors. Hollywood, take ‘em, they’re yours -- just invite me to be a judge once in a while.

1. “America’s Next Top Author”
A group of aspiring writers are convened and judged by a successful author - say, Zadie Smith - until only one remains.


2. “Survivor: MFA”
A dozen fierce competitors are sent to a faraway land where they compete with few resources and brief alliegiences until a winner emerges. Or just pick any master of fine arts program and send cameras.

3. “Big Brother: MFA”
Like Survivor: MFA, but everyone has to live in the same house.

4. “Project Publish”
A dozen promising writers are gathered in New York and compete in a series of challenges such as writing stories around objects found in a 99-cent store. Each week there is a trip to The Strand bookstore for inspiration.

5. “The Amazing Manuscript”
Under incredible time pressure, writer-editor teams must finish a novel during the several-week shoot. While traveling around the world.

6. “So You Think You Can Write”
Writers must master a variety of genres -- including historical fiction, thrillers, sestinas, and erotica -- and face off to become the winner.

7. “Extreme Makeover: Manuscript Edition”
An agent, editor, and copy editor descend upon the unpublished manuscript of someone in a family in need and rework it so their lives will be transformed.

8. “Clichebusters”
Two funny writing professors who are also successful authors -- Sam Lipsyte and Gary Shteyngart -- travel the country, testing works-in-progress for bad writing.


9. “Top Novelist”
A writing competition of accomplished short story writers who want to publish a novel. Well-known authors to serve as judges; Salman Rushdie is host.

10. “Literary Death Match”
Writers go head to head in front of a live audience. Celebrity judges include Jonathan Lethem and Susan Orlean. (Note: this is a real thing. It’s just not on TV -- yet).

11. “Writing With the Stars”
While wearing impossibly glittery outfits, prize-winning authors co-write stories with aspiring literary stars from the worlds of sports and entertainment. Hosted by James Franco, who has mastered them all.


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