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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Argentines seek gameful employment
Studio audiences are sympathetic to poor contestants
The economic crisis in Argentina has proved to be fertile ground for the imagination of the country's TV producers.

Taking their cue from the dole queues, they have come up with the most recession-proof idea yet - a game show with a job as the prize.

The audience prefers poor people who cannot maintain their families

Producer Hernan Frato
As Canal 13 TV station explains on its website, it is doing something of a public service.

"Human Resources tries to contribute solutions to one of the most serious problems that faces society: Unemployment," it says with a touch of pride.

Human Resources contestants go through a gruelling process of elimination, after which the lucky person gets a job - a contract, signed sealed and delivered in front of the audience.

Hundreds of hopefuls

And in a country that has been through the economic turmoil that Argentina has of late, there are plenty of people joining the quest.

Producer Hernan Frato said the show - which is only in its third week - gets hundreds of contestants for each job. Even a hairdressers' job got 400 applicants.

Canal 13's website extols the station's public service remit
They are pared down initially by a "consultant company" which presents the producers with a shortlist of 20.

Even the consultants earn their keep - getting through the 400 hopeful hairdressers in just three hours.

Mr Frato said: "We do more interviews and present 10 candidates to the firm.

"The owner then decides on two that go to the studio and they present their life to the audience."

Pregnant plea

Presenting your life is a bit like presenting your curriculum vitae to millions of people, with the added spice of opening your heart and soul to win over the audience.

"The audience prefers poor people who cannot maintain their families," said Mr Frato.

"Maybe their wife is pregnant and they need medicine."

The heartbreaking tales of the contestants are then mulled over by the audience.

But not before the contestants show whether they can actually do the job by going through a series of demanding tests.

Then the audience decides on candidate A or B.

So is the show about performing a public service or about getting good ratings?

Mr Frato admitted that while 50% of the show is aimed at reducing Argentina's alarming unemployment figures, the other 50% is aimed at producing good television.

"We need a story," he said.

Listen to the show
Listen to the show
Hernan Frato
"We need a story'
See also:

22 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Ban on Greek Big Brother overturned
05 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Bother for Greek Big Brother
10 Dec 01 | Africa
SA Big Brother reflects divisions
12 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Russian 'Big Brother' bares all
24 May 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV around the globe
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