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Everyone is talking about it, from Newsday to the New York Times to Access Hollywood
. Kid Nation
has become one of the most controversial new shows of the fall. In April and May of this year, CBS sent 40 kids between the ages of 8-15 to a deserted town in New Mexico to rebuild it and run it on their own. The children were cut off from their parents completely and couldn't even speak to them by telephone.
On the show, the kids will decide how the town is run, what laws should be passed, and who should be in charge. They'll run their own businesses, earn their own money, and learn to be responsible for themselves. However, the work they've done has caused them, the show, and CBS to come under fire. Last month, the New Mexico Department of Labor claimed the children worked as many as 14 hours a day.
CBS defended the show, releasing this statement: "These kids were in good hands and were under good care with procedures and safety structures that arguably rival or surpass any school or camp in the country." They also take the stance that any publicity is good publicity. "We know we're going to create some controversy," said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler. "We know people are going to be talking, and it's good that we're talking."
On each episode of Kid Nation
, the children gather for an old fashioned town meeting where they can voice their concerns or issues to the town council, made up of four children. Also, at each meeting, children are offered the opportunity to go home if they wish. Finally, each episode, a gold star worth $20,000 will be awarded to a child decided by the town council. CBS promises that parents have never seen their kids do anything like this. I can tell you I've never seen THOSE kids doing anything like this. My kid happens to be upstairs playing World of Warcraft but maybe after this, he'll clean the bathroom for me!
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- Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV
(Photo courtesy of CBS)