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Shock TV Reality Organ Donor Show Goes on Air

A do-good TV reality show highlighting the need for more organ donors, or a programme plumbing new depths in bad taste? Amid a swirl of controversy, a Dutch channel Friday was to air a terminally ill woman deciding who will receive her kidney.

The controversy stirred by "The Big DonorShow" has spread even beyond the borders of the Netherlands, but public broadcaster BNN is determined to go ahead.

While acknowledging the programme's potential for bad taste and insisting the show will be a one-off one-nighter, BNN says the fury triggered by the idea has successfully thrown the question of organ donation on the map world wide.

"BNN is done with talking, it is time for action. In the Big DonorShow a terminally ill woman will choose which one of three kidney patients will get her kidney. That is not gruesome, that is real life," says BNN's website.

"Every year hundreds of people die because there are not enough donors," it adds.

Significantly, the young people's channel, which has built up a reputation for controversy, is screening the show on the fifth anniversary of the death of its founder, Bart de Graaff -- he died after waiting years for a kidney transplant.

The notion was the brainchild of Endemol, the Dutch production company behind Big Brother and many other reality TV shows spinning the globe.

Its star is Lisa, a 37-year-old woman dying of a brain tumor who must decide which of three patients selected by the producers -- aged between 18 and 40 -- should receive her kidney.

Viewers can join in with advice by SMS text message.

This is not the first time BNN has courted controversy. Previous broadcasts include "Sex, a User's Guide", a series of no-holds-barred education programmes, and "Shoot Up and Swallow", a series dedicated to sex and drugs.

Last year the network won praise for another hair-raising show, "Over My Dead Body
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