To sem jaz update: Slovenes not interested, Bosnians threaten to sueTo sem jaz (That’s Me) has yet to capture the Slovene public’s attention, and there has been very little press coverage. One of the few articles is in this week’s Žurnal, called Mednarodna realnost. The show also figured into two other of Žurnal’s recent articles [Žurnal / 26.11.04 / Jugonostalgija še vedno med Slovenci and Mladina / 29.11.04 / Zadnja TV].
However, the daily newspaper Večernji list in Croatia is reporting on the show (called To sam ja in Croatian, as well as in Bosnian and Serbian) almost daily. It has also caught the Bosnian public’s attention, but not in a good way: On 27 November, a Bosnian NGO called the Bosniac League issued a press release denouncing the program as a "live feed of erotic, nearly pornographic pictures from a house in Skopje."
They also announced they have received a request to file a lawsuit against OBN, the station carrying the program in Bosnia, from the mother of the female participant from Bosnia, Mirela Efendić. The mother, according to the Bosnian League, believes her daughter has been "forced to bathe together with men in one bathtub, to strip naked in the communal bed room, not knowing that it would be broadcast as an attack on her person and on her moral integrity." The Bosnian League is demanding a public apology from OBN in order to stave off a lawsuit [Index.hr / 30.11.04 / Balkanski reality show zbog ‘pornografije’ na udaru roditelja, Večernji list / 30.11.04 / "To sam ja" osuđen zbog golotinje].
OBN has had experience with reality TV in the past, having aired the first Balkan reality TV show in June 2001. The show, 60 Hours, featured two Bosnian Serbs, a Bosnian Muslim, a Croatian from Zagreb and Jana Prepeluh of Ljubljana. The five spent 60 hours in a luxury apartment in Sarajevo, and the whole thing was not only televised, but aired over BH Radio 1. The show did not include the concept of voting contestants out of the house, since it was decided that it could cause unwanted nationalist tensions. The show itself turned out to be rather boring, and viewers were particularly disappointed that there was no nudity or sex. Lav, the Croat, was the only one to venture into the shower during the show, but he wore a bathing suit [Mladina / 02.07.01 / Lav, bodi samo moj and Dani / 22.07.01 / Sretna nova 1984].
The only similar reality TV show currently on the air is Croatia’s version of Big Brother, which is a huge hit there. Organizers of that show have taken notice of To sem jaz, and told Večernji list that the next season of Big Brother will include some regional cooperation, though not on the same level as To sem jaz. [Večernji list / 25.11.04 / Big Brother također s YU kandidatima]
To sem jaz can be seen on Prva TV in 10 to 15 minute increments five times daily from Monday to Friday, with hour-long daily wrap-ups each evening as well as on Saturdays. Viewers in Slovenia can participate in the telephone voting by calling 090 93 60 63 or by sending an SMS with the name of the candidate to be voted off to 2929.
The To sem jaz website, still in development, can be found at http://www.toasumjas.com.mk/, and a press release in English can be found at: http://ca.prweb.com/releases/2004/12/prweb185588.htm.