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Mark Burnett show about the terminally ill attracts few viewers

"Survivor" executive producer Mark Burnett's new reality series -- in which people are granted their dying wishes -- handed in its dinner pail, kicked the bucket, bit the dust, cashed in its chips, and bought the farm, Thursday when the pilot episode and clocked CBS's smallest audience for an original episode of, oh, anything in the Thursday 8 p.m. timeslot during a TV season since 1991.

Only about 4.6 million people could bear to watch the first of what Burnett had no doubt hoped would be many episodes of "Live for the Moment." You may remember it was originally called "Live Like You're Dying" which we liked so much better, but we're guessing fell victim to some focus group, or advertiser, or network suit who decided that name was too creep-inducing.

As, apparently, was the program itself, even though it had things going for it -- things like having America's Sweetheart/Emmy Award winning Jeff Probst serve as its host, and running in Burnett's "Survivor" timeslot.

Based on the numbers, it appears there is something about the spectacle of a 41-year-old suburban Colorado dad to two young boys, who is stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, riding in a fighter jet and skiing with his former college roommate, that takes from 50 to 60 percent off the entertainment value of a reality series.

Who knew?

By Lisa de Moraes  |  January 29, 2010; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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this show really sugar-coated a really serious deadly disease. I suffer the same ALS for 6 years now and I talk to hundreds of other ALS patients. I could tell the other side -- spouses who leave, friends who run the other way after the first year or so, loneliness and isolation, and financial ruin. This disease strikes down people of both sexes, all races, religions and ethnicities, in their prime. More tragic still, is the baby form of ALS [SMA] which doesn't give a chance for children to reach teenage years. We are all going to die, often suddenly or without time to fulfill dreams. Many of us are so sick when we get various diagnoses, or are thrust into immediate "treatment" that so weaken us, that we can't do much of anything.

Posted by: fec139 | January 30, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

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