From: Rudy in Fox program development
To: Tom in Fox programming
The new season of "24" is off to a great start - and we think we've found a way to expand the brand through a reality outlet.
Because of recruiting shortfalls by the U.S. Army and National Guard, we've worked out a deal with Homeland Security to team up with us and the Boy Scouts of America to create a new series: "The Jack Bauer Merit Badge." Scouts will be selected to become the next Jack Bauer - and earning the badge will qualify any Boy Scout to be placed immediately in the field in Iraq, Afghanistan or, in the near future, Iran. Each week, the Scouts will face a new requirement toward earning the Jack Bauer Merit Badge.
It's a win-win: DHS and the Pentagon get to tap a new pool of potential recruits - and we polish our own patriotism credentials (like they need polishing!). Here are some of the ideas we're tossing around:
1. Fire-building: Using only sticks and tinder, the Boy Scout must start a fire at an appointed campsite. Once the fire is established, the Boy Scout will use it to ignite the gasoline in the Scoutmaster's SUV, causing it to explode. Points will be awarded based on the size of the subsequent fireball.
(A separate requirement, involving skill with explosives, entails the Boy Scout surviving an exploding fireball of at least a 30-foot height, using only a standard American-made passenger vehicle (possible product tie-ins here?) and one fellow Boy Scout for cover.)
2. Whittling: Using the official Boy Scout pocketknife (can we get them as sponsors?), the Boy Scout must carve a canoe and a paddle out of a fallen log. He must navigate the canoe through deadly rapids to the nearest occupied campsite, where he will use the paddle to render all inhabitants unconscious.
3. Knots: The Boy Scout will be tested on his ability to tie a bow-hitch, a sheep-shank and that kind of knot where, when you tie someone up, it chokes them to death if they struggle.
4. Riflery: The Boy Scout will be asked to display marksmanship by shooting at paper targets from a prone and sitting position, as well as demonstrating the ability to shoot a gun out of another Boy Scout's hands from a standing position.
5. Archery: The Boy Scout will be required to hit a target from 50 yards, and to master the quick conversion of the bow-string into a garrote to silently subdue the archery instructor.
6. Wilderness training: The Boy Scout will be left in the woods with only string and safety pins with which to fish. He must catch a fish, which he will then use as a weapon to secure a car to return to civilization.
7. Water safety: The Boy Scout must learn life-saving skills, then perform a water rescue during which he utilizes the threat of drowning to extract information from the victim.
8. Road safety: The Boy Scout must learn proficiency behind the wheel of a car, as well as a motorcycle, 18-wheel tractor-trailer and helicopter. (Small jet is optional.) He must survive ejection from (and destruction of) each vehicle.
9. Interpersonal skills: Interrogation techniques will be taught, including learning the correct moment at which to threaten the interview subject's eye with a kitchen knife and his family with painful death.
10. Electricity: The Boy Scout must demonstrate proficiency and knowledge of wiring, while mastering the application of both automobile batteries and extension cords for extracting information via shocks. He must also show he is able to use electricity to revive an interrogation subject who has been questioned too vigorously.
The Boy Scout may skip any single requirement of the Jack Bauer Merit Badge if he allows himself to be shocked back to life and, within the hour, eliminates his troopmates and operates a motor vehicle.
Let's schedule it for the family hour!
Follow Marshall Fine on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hollywoodnfine