"Virgin Adventurers" - November 9
"The name is Branson. Sir
Richard Branson." And so begins Fox's answer to the love
child of "The Apprentice" and "Fear Factor". But instead
of a job with Virgin Worldwide, these players will all
compete for... Virgin Worldwide. The winner will be
named PRESIDENT of Richard's entire media empire, worth
tens of billions (that's with a B, mind you) and will
receive a $1 million salary. Those players...
Steve: pro tennis player/business executive who
plans to make the other 15 his bitches.
Jermaine: motivational speaker
Candida: CEO, raw foods company
Shawn: CEO, Lovesac furniture company
Heather: CEO, Little Laureate Videos
Jennifer: radio advertising executive
Michael: Wall Street strategist
Spencer: young, hungry, greedy, very motivated
car salesman who says he's a winner
Gabriel: entrepreneur and pizza parlor owner
Jessica: entrepreneur, former owner of mail-order
Sara: CEO/owner, Spanx footless pantyhose
Tim: recently separated trial attorney
Aisha: a "serious businesswoman" who sacrificed
her son, husband, and job to take part
Nicole: employment attorney who doesn't know what
Morning Glory: the plane that will jet the
players and Branson on a whirlwind adventure
From all across America,
they will be taxi-cabbed to Richard's estate in Oxford,
England. It is here where Branson's quest for the best
begins. "To win this, a person will have to have an
adventurous spirit, a sterling character, and a
brilliant entrepreneurial mind." All 16 are nestled and
getting ready for a meeting with Richard... not knowing
that they may have already met him... Remember the
old-decrepit cabbie that took them to the estate? Under
that makeup, it's all Branson. Which means that every
lie they told about themselves, their motives, and
America in general... He's heard. And based on that, he
will eliminate two spot on.
At the party, we see a limo
and the cab used to get to the estate. Out of the limo
pops... Donald Trump? I don't think so... Out of the cab
pops... Richard. He informs them that of 50,000 who
applied to be on the show, they were the last 16. THAT's
the good news. Now the bad news. "Some of you may not
have realized it, but you've already faced your first
test. I was actually your cab driver this morning." With
that, he outs three people -- Aisha (who compared
herself to Jennifer Lopez and had a thing for celebrity,
not challenge), Shawn (who didn't help his lady friends
OR the driver with heavy bags, and was just cocky
overall - "The guy owes me money."), and Spencer (who
wasn't warm at all) -- as candidates for elimination.
For Spencer and Aisha, their ineptitude and lacking for
details will cost them dearly. They are the first back
on the plane to America. "As much as Aisha and Spencer
make good employees, they could NEVER run my company.
You've got to be top-notch in every way, and most
importantly, have the ability to aspire others." For the
rest of the group, it's a 4am wake-up call for...
something that Richard has never done.
I guess in the UK, 4am is
3:32am, as the team gets set for their next adventure in
a hot-air balloon. Or should we say... in TWO hot-air
balloons. Problem for Jennifer, as she's afraid of
heights. The challenge: crossing between two balloons on
a balance beam at 10,000 feat. Seven players will
accompany Richard on this trip, while the other seven
are guaranteed places in the next round. Shawn, Sara,
Michael, Erica, Nicole, Jessica, and Tim will join the
balloon enthusiast, as Richard wants to see how Shawn
will fare as a team leader.
The challenge: Shawn will
choose one person at a time to cross the balloons within
15 minutes. There will be two guide wires, and if anyone
touches them once, they'll be given a warning not to
touch them again. If they touch twice, they will face
"dire consequences" in the first balloon. Branson's tip:
it is best not to be chosen last. You do not want to be
in that first balloon.
Among the strategy
discussed, Sara's fear of heights. How will that factor?
Richard cites that this sort of challenge has shaped his
own business vision. Shawn decides that if he isn't
scared, he will stand by the weakest link of the team
and put Sara on the beam first. If not, he will choose
Michael. Shawn makes it across first... and calls
Michael, who rushes across. Then there's Erica (across),
Jessica (across), and Tim... who doesn't make it. Sara
is a bit betrayed about how her team treated her. She
goes last with less than a minute of fuel remaining. And
after all that buildup... She touches the wire twice.
Tim and Sara are left at the start with Richard, who
gives them the next challenge, again something that
Richard has never done.
The challenge: climbing to
Richard's little office setup for a chat and some tea.
The only thing is: it's at the at the top of the
balloon, 150 feet up. Whoever fails is eliminated. If
they both reach the top, then Richard gets to choose who
stays and who goes. But for now, both Tim and Sara are
in control of their own fate. And, because he can,
Richard will attempt this and all future stunts with the
"I feel like I'm climbing
Mt. Everest." And he's in, thinking that peer pressure
will get at least one person up.
Tim is first, terrified.
Sara is next... petrified. Shawn is on the ground,
wondering if he will be called on for his leadership,
putting Sara in jeopardy, double jeopardy, AND final
jeopardy. At this point, Sara is in danger of not making
it, as the air is thin, and the oxygen levels are low.
Tim makes it to the top first. Sara's arms are hurting.
She is so fatigued that she says she may faint. After 38
minutes... Sara makes it! She's so excited that she gets
her foot caught in the balloon. The lesson here, just
because you climbed your way to the top of a balloon
doesn't change the fact that you are still indeed on top
of a balloon. But nevertheless, they're on a cloud, and
"if one of you goes home, I hope you go home on cloud
And if you thought that
climbing up was hard, trying getting back into the
basket. And if that was hard, then for Richard to choose
between the two... excruciatingly difficult. Dealing
with forcing his hand... for Shawn, impossible.
To the airport, where the
time has come, the Morning Glory is fueled, and a
decision has to be made. Richard believes that leaving
behind Tim and Sara was a bit of a Machiavellian move,
thinking that they could go all the way. Tim's an
articulate person. Sara proved to be a budding
entrepreneur. That said, both are given an envelope. In
one envelope, a ticket on board. In the other, a ticket
back to America. That person will be left on the tarmac
to watch the others head for their next adventure.
Today... that person is Tim. "Tim is incredibly smart
and incredibly articulate, but I'm not sure he has the
entrepreneurial instincts to lead my company." Sara returns to the game,
as she is toasted.
All I can say about the
show right now is that it's all polish, but recycled
content. And could you at least please not hide the fact
that confessionals are being taped in front of a blue
screen? That just takes away from it. But I do like the
execution. In any event, the adventure
continues.... to Hong Kong!
Now boarding, GSNNAir Flight 5050 to Hong Kong...