Vatican City — Faced with accusations that they are “out of touch” with modern life, the Catholic Church has decided to take a drastic step to become more relevant: reality TV.
With the surprise retirement of Pope Benedict XIV, the Church finds itself in the unenviable position of having to name the second new pope in less than a decade. The solution? A joint reality TV venture between TLC and the Catholic Church called “Who Wants to Be the Next Pope?”
At this early date, the format of “Who Wants to Be the Next Pope?” is under discussion. One proposal: every week, contestants will get acquainted with Vatican officials. At the end of the week, the favorite contestants will be asked to stay at an elimination ceremony with the tagline, “Cardinal, will you accept this rosary?”
Also unclear at this time: who will be the host of “Who Wants to Be the Next Pope?” A worldwide search for talented Catholics is underway, with an early list of frontrunners that includes Stephen Colbert, Paul Ryan, Madonna, an assortment of telenovela stars, and pretty much everybody from the Kennedy family.
Critics are already accusing TLC of reaching a new low of tacky, scandalous television that has the potential to offend over a billion believers worldwide. Network executive Brad O’Malley, an Irish Catholic, countered these claims. “We realize that this show might be pushing the envelope a little,” said O’Malley. “But if people are offended, they don’t have to watch. Just like they don’t have to watch Toddlers and Tiaras, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Hoarders, and our many shows about little people and conjoined twins.”
“Here at TLC,” said O’Malley, “we’re always looking for reality shows that viewers never in a million years thought that anyone would ever put on TV. That’s why we’re called The Learning Channel.”
The Holy Ghost, who is usually a key participant when choosing a new pope, has already declined TLC’s offer to participate in the program.