Celeb-pleb swop fails to make a name for itself

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TO same name david "Pilot"--Celebrity David Hasselhoff trades places with David Hasselhoff Junior of Lake Jackson, Texas on the season premiere of SAME NAME Sunday, July 24 (9:00 -10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ?2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

THEY are called David Hasselhoff, Kathy Griffin, Mike Tyson and Reggie Bush – but they aren’t celebrities. They just happen to share the same name as them.

And so some creative TV Einstein (not!) decided it would make for an interesting reality show to have these people trade places with the stars.

As far as formats go, this is far from ingenious. It is more like a diluted version of Wife Swap and, for a South African reference, Culture Shock.

That CBS, a network that has commissioned reality shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race – decided this hare-brained offering merited air time boggles the mind.

It certainly does explain why publicity whore The Hoff is at the forefront of the show. I can’t see Brad Pitt agreeing to do it.

In the first episode, the Knight Rider and Baywatch star trades places with an electrical technician from Lake Jackson, Texas. Actor/comedian Kathy Griffin does the same with a fibreglass saleswoman and mother of two from Atlanta Georgia; Mike Tyson (aka pigeon whisperer) finds out what it is like to walk a mile in the shoes of a part-time nurse and stay-at home-dad from Zeeland, Michigan; and, lastly, NFL star Reggie Bush switches professions with a small-town contractor.

While the celebrities, who are used to being fawned over, will find the “regular” lifestyle a shock to their system, their average Joe/Jane counterparts lap up the rich and famous lifestyle.

That this reality series (not that it’s much of that with only four episodes in total) was pulled, sums up its reception. The lack of drama – with everyone being über polite – combined with the most mundane of stories (no offence) didn’t make much of an impact on viewers, who, given the array of reality series on offer, have become rather discerning.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure the heart-warming message filters through – but the farce passing for entertainment certainly does.

What’s in a name? In this case, not much!

• Same Name, Sony Entertainment Television (DStv channel 127), Sunday, December 16, at 7.35pm.

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