NEW YORK: For all those lamenting the ever-increasing "crassness quotient" of many reality TV programmes, there is still hope. From 8 September US network NBC will be premiering a reality series with a difference called Starting Over, which promises to fuse reality TV with the daytime soap opera.
The series has already been nicknamed a "soaprah" for its combination of soap opera-style stories and issues favoured by talk shows such as Oprah Winfrey's, the Associated Press reports.
Set in Chicago, Starting Over revolves around six women who gather in a house to help each other improve their lives, all the while being filmed for television.
The show follows a diverse and ever-changing group of women as they attempt to make extraordinary changes in their lives. They are joined by two life coaches -- Rhonda Britten and Rana Walker, who will help find solutions to problems that they face in their lives.
The aim of the life coach will be to empower each woman with the motivational tools to move one step closer to their goal. As each woman succeeds or fails to achieve their goals, she will leave the house and a new woman will arrive to attempt to start her life over. The show will also feature follow-up segments updating the women's lives after leaving the house.
Starting Over, NBC claims, will not be a voyeuristic show. This is the first time that a reality show has an eloquent motive and is not just about money, romance, betrayal and the sex factor. In that it is unlike other reality shows like Big Brother, Temptation Island and Joe Millionaire.
The six women Andy, Christine, Cassie, Maureen, Nyanza and Lori each have some obstacle to overcome in their personal life and efforts will be made in that direction.
Andy is 32 years old and is very skeptical of other people, especially women, which holds her back from achieving a successful career. She will be coming to the Starting Over house with the hope of finding the answer to moving her career forward, her goal being to learn to trust herself.
Christine is from Princeton and is forced to support both herself and her daughter after her marriage broke up. She has little time to devote to herself. Her aim is to begin the process of concentrating on herself and her goals.
Cassie, a 20-year-old is a former foster child who wants to re-enroll in college. Barely able to make ends meet by working two jobs, she is unable to afford her tuition. A party animal, she needs to get her life back on track and concentrate on building a future for herself.
Maureen is known for her quick wit, but most of her life has not been a laughing matter. She experienced the heart-breaking loss of her mother and two of her four children. After two failed marriages, she is ready to make a new start and begin working towards a career in comedy.
Nyanza has been recently divorced from a professional football player. She loves shopping, gambling and living a life of luxury. She decided to put her accomplished career as an attorney on hold, when she got married. Realising her life is somewhat empty she hopes to learn to be less materialistic and to develop more substantive relationships.
Lori's husband died few months after their marriage. Heartbroken, she made herself ugly and cut herself off from the world. Now five years later, she's ready to cultivate new friendships and maybe a relationship.
NBC has also invited viewers of Starting Over who are above 18 years of age to interact with the life coaches behind the television programme. The channel says, this is another first in the history of reality shows. The questions and responses can be posted on the Starting Over website www.startingovertv.com.