Harvard Less Selective Than NBC's Grueling Page Program

It's not clear whether Kenneth from 30 Rock had anything to do with it, but NBC's page program now gets 7,000 applicants each year for roughly 70 slots, an admission rate of about 1 percent versus 7 percent for the undergraduate college at Harvard University . The $10-per-hour work consists of fetching coffee, guarding studio doors and giving tours for "at least six days" per week, the Times said this morning. You may have to live in Harlem and work at a bar to make ends meet. Then there are the long hours and flashcards:

They all attend long orientation sessions, are herded through NBC’s labyrinthine warren of offices and studios and are handed a 75-page handbook full of trivia, much of which they are expected to memorize. Many make flash cards and study in pairs to prepare for the exam at week’s end. “We all have an unhealthy knowledge of NBC,” said another page, Brandon Adams, who is also 24 and grew up in San Diego.

The work varies. Assignments on morning shows require predawn start times; “Saturday Night Live” means weekend shifts into the wee hours.

But if a page plays her cards right, she might someday end up like such media luminaries as Michael Eisner or Regis Philbin!

While a page, Regis used to watch the Steve Allen Show, "thinking, ‘What was my talent?’" And now, decades later, it's all of America asking that question. Thank you, NBC page program!

(Lower photo cropped from original by Nicole Bengiveno, Times)