"Stars Earn Stripes" is a new reality show in which celebrities (does Dolvett Quince count?) compete in military-themed exercises. Cash prizes go to different military charities.
Sounds like good harmless fun. After all, who wouldn't want to watch Nick Lachey yelled at by a humorless drill instructor? Well, apparently, plenty of people. A backlash is building, thanks in large part to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a host of other Nobel Peace laureates.
An open letter from the dignitaries and addressed to NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt read: "This program pays homage to no one anywhere and continues and expands on an inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence. Trying to somehow sanitize war by likening it to an athletic competition further calls into question the morality and ethics of linking the military anywhere with the entertainment industry in barely veiled efforts to make war and its multitudinous costs more palatable to the public."
NBC responded to the open letter. A spokesperson for the Peacock Network said, "'Stars Earn Stripes' is about thanking the young Americans who are in harm’s way every day. This show is not a glorification of war, but a glorification of service."
The show was also in the crosshairs of Sharon Osbourne, whose son Jack was scheduled to be a contestant. Sharon Osbourne contends that Jack was cut from the show after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Watch last night's "Stars Earn Stripes" premiere in full right here:
Of course, a little controversy never hurt any show's ratings. And though the season is just one episode in, there is already a buzz around Sarah Palin's husband Todd Palin. During an early exercise, Todd impressed the military advisers so much that he became known as "Rambo." One observer remarked, "Next time I go to war, I want Todd Palin on my side."
Other contestants include boxer Laila Ali, wrestler Eve Torres, actor Dean Cain, skier Picabo Street, and all-around badass Terry Crews.
"Stars Earn Stripes" airs Mondays at 9 PM on NBC.