The concept of the WB's new "Survival of the Richest" is to take wealthy and pampered young people, who have never worked in their lives, and team them with young, debt-ridden working-class stiffs. Six mismatched teams, trying to work together and learn from one another, in an upstairs-downstairs variation on "Beauty and the Geek." But the same network's "Beauty and the Geek," from Ashton Kutcher, is warm-hearted and entertaining. "Survival of the Richest," premiering tomorrow night at 8, is cold-hearted and dreadful.

Despite their mammoth trust funds, the rich kids in "Survival of the Richest" aren't exactly the crème de la crème. They're more like the sour crème: young people so astoundingly removed from reality that they have no idea how horridly they're intended to come off – and do. They're rich folks who are so emotionally and socially poverty-stricken they want to be on reality TV.

"Why should I care where money comes from?" asks one of the six snooty contestants. These include Hunter, who speaks six languages and is irritating in all of them. And Kat Moon, who calls the Rev. Sun Myung Moon "my pops," is worth almost a billion, yet doesn't play well with others. "Survival" is built to foster pure contempt. The working-class players hate the wealthy ones, and vice versa. The show may as well be called "Let Them Eat Cake," and end not with a team elimination, but with royal beheadings. But in this case, my contempt extends not just to the participants, but to the makers of this show.

The respective credits for executive producers Joe Houlihan, Zad Rogers, Stuart Krasnow and Seven include such bottom-feeding reality shows as "Average Joe" and "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." They may all have achieved a new personal worst here. One of the rich kids, T.R., says after earning a day's pay that he has advice for anyone contemplating a minimum-wage job: "Don't do it." He doesn't seem to get that there's not always a choice in the matter. There is, however, always a choice when it comes to watching "Survival of the Richest." My advice is the same as T.R.'s. Don't do it. SOURCE


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