LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- With 135 candidates on the ballot, California's recall is expected to cost the state, already $38 billion in the red, another $67 million.
The rest of the country is literally laughing at California's expense, and the state is not making a dime off of it - nor is ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX. Here's my pitch... Let's take the California recall and turn it into a reality television show.
Stay with me now. We'll call it, "Who Wants To Be A Governor?" or "Survivor: Sacramento" or "Democracy - Special Voters Unit."
Plus, along with actual politicians, there's a former baseball commissioner, a golf pro, a sumo wrestler, a bounty hunter, and a porn star running.
It's got a little something for everybody - voters will love it, non-voters won't hate it.
Think of it as sort of a "Circus of the Stars" meets "The West Wing." Are we all on the same page here? Great.
We start out with a special two-hour live prime-time primary premiere. Each of the 135 candidates will get 45 seconds to "wow us," kind of like "American Idol" with a dash of "Meet The Press."
Instead of Simon Cowell we'll get Sam Donaldson to see if he can make some of the candidates cry. California residents will then get to vote by phone.
We then take the top 20 vote-getters and put them up in Sacramento's old governor's residence, an elegant 30-room Victorian mansion, giving it that "Joe Millionaire"/"Big Brother" kind of feel.
Think about it. ... Arianna and Angelyne, Arnold and the sumo wrestler, Gary Coleman and the porn star, living together and competing against each other in these zany gubernatorial games. It writes itself.
Each week candidates will be voted out of rgw governor's mansion by Californians while the rest of America watches the show, not to mention the commercials in between.
Come October the last candidate standing and Gray Davis can then have a debate or a worm-eating contest or something. We can focus group it.
To put it into television terms, Davis' ratings are way down, he may soon be canceled, and there's a built-in audience for his mid-season replacement. So why let CNN and Fox News grab all the glory?
Making California's recall into a reality show would avoid a costly paper vote while generating loads of ad revenue for California and the network, as well as those with "created by" credit. It's a win-win.
Or, if you're not buying that, how about a show where five gay men give Gray Davis a makeover?
-- Danny Vermont formerly wrote for ABC's "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher," contributes outside commentaries to United Press International, and is a stand-up comedian in Los Angeles.
-- "Outside View" commentaries are written for UPI by outside writers who specialize in a variety of important global issues.