Recently, a shake-up at the beleaguered ABC network resulted in an unconventional solution. Parent company CEO Michael Eyeswideshutner says that he “was ready to clean house, completely,” as ABC consistently found itself near the bottom in the ratings wars. [this is satire] “We were all sitting in a board room,” Eyeswideshutner recalls. “Ready to issue the papers and fire the whole lot, when I looked around and had one of those — you know — sort of eureka type moments. ‘Don’t fire them, put them on TV and fire them.’” And so was born television’s newest reality show, Canned. The premise was simple, one that Eyeswideshutner quickly drew up on his cocktail napkin at the boardroom table: “Put all eight studio executives — presidents, vice presidents, whoever — into one setting, then let them and the viewers decide who gets fired first. The last person standing keeps his job.” Three weeks into its season, Canned has not only helped ABC inch its way up the ratings hierarchy, it was network TV’s No. 1 rated show last week. Along the way, two ABC vice presidents — or, rather — former vice presidents have lost their jobs. “It was a shame about Howard [Deutschbag],” says Eyeswideshutner, shaking his head. “He might have been the one guy I would have kept as I built a new team.” The other casualty of the reality-show-style format is former vice president in charge of programming, Tanya Feystrombum. “No comment on that one,” Eyeswideshutner stated. “Nor do I have anything nice to say about Gestaltington.” Peter Gestaltington, canned in the first week’s episode, is former vice chairman in charge of laugh tracks. Only he would return our calls seeking comment from the ousted. “Well,” Gestaltington began, “it’s not like I had any chance anyway. Eyeswideshutner and his lackeys all hated me. I knew that. At least I could go out with some measure of dignity. My kids liked watching me. From behind the camera to in front of it … if only for one episode.” He added, “My only real dispute is the ‘heads-rolling’ sequence at the end.” For those readers unfamiliar with Canned, once the executive is selected for firing, a facsimile of his or her head is rolled down a red carpet. “It’s tactless,” Gestaltington said. “Give the people what they want,” Eyeswideshutner countered. If the initial response is anything to go by, Eyeswideshutner certainly knows how to deliver the goods.

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