The triumph of reality TV

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    While deadly street battles raged across Lebanon on Friday, a studio audience gathered in the hills above Beirut to watch a live broadcast of “Star Academy”, one of the country’s biggest reality shows. The program, aired on LBC, opened with a patriotic song by pop sensation Carol Samaha–pictured above speaking to the show’s host. When asked to comment on the situation, Samaha (in black) was careful to avoid politics. “What is there to say,” she said, before exiting stage left with a smile.

    As the evening progressed, RPGs exploded in the Shouf mountains and civil war seemed imminent. The live show meanwhile, featured a choreographed ‘women in leather and chains’ dance:


    Hundreds showed up to watch, even as casualties piled up and Lebanon’s future hung in the balance.


    Normally, “Star Academy” faces fierce competition from “Superstar” the Arab version of “American Idol” But that show never aired because its carrier, Future Television, remained blank throughout the night after being shut down by militants loyal to the Hezbollah-backed opposition, who continue to control the city.

    On the other hand, Hezbollah’s TV channel, Al Manar, aired a painfully over-dramatic Syrian soap.


    Winning the street war may have seemed easy, but the opposition is still far behind in the prime time arena.

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