A new show in CBS' fall lineup, Kid Nation, which took a bunch of kids and stuck them in the desert in New Mexico to live on their own for 40 days, is currently embroiled in controversy because the network made parents sign a 22-page waiver so their children could participate on the show. Basically, it seems like CBS took advantage of parents who were either willfully ignorant or saw the show as their kids' ticket to fame. Or maybe both! The financial rewards were laughable—$5,000 for participation, with a possible $20,000 bonus—and the penalties were severe: $5 million if parents or kids broke the confidentiality agreement. Ouch. Oh, and also? CBS owns the rights to the children's life stories in perpetuity and throughout the universe.
So, hold the phone. Did the parents not understand that they were basically signing their kids away? Did they not care to read these contracts? And, like, when a parent told the LA Times that her daughter "feels like it was summer camp. And I guess that would be a summer camp with cameras. This was a fun adventure for her," is she serious? Anyway, the Smoking Gun has published the whole thing, and it's instructive, if only to understand that reading contracts carefully might be a good thing. Although in this case, it doesn't seem like it would have mattered! People are morons. Also, whores.
No Human Rights in "Kid Nation" [TSG]
Is Child Exploitation Legal in 'Kid Nation'? [LAT]