Organ donor show to go on despite outcry


AMSTERDAM -- A Dutch reality-style television program in which a terminally ill woman selects one of three contestants to receive her kidneys after her death is scheduled to air Friday despite widespread criticism.

Several members of the Dutch parliament have urged health and media ministers to prevent the broadcast of "The Great Donor Show" on Dutch pubcaster BNN. In the program, a terminally ill woman of 37 will choose from three hopeful recipients who suffer from kidney disease.

Politicians from the coalition parties CDA and the Christian Union have expressed their disgust with the program, which they described as tasteless.

"This program should not be aired," CDA member of parliament Joop Atsma said. "I wonder how the two losing contestants must feel if they are denied on national television the help they need for their illness."

BNN claims to be broadcasting the program to highlight the lack of organ donors in the Netherlands.

Said network chairman Laurens Drillich: "The participants in our show have a 33% chance of getting a kidney. These odds are much better than in real life. In Holland, the waiting lists for kidneys are growing every year."

Broadcaster BNN has a special interest in the issue: Its founder, Bart de Graaff, died in 2001 of kidney failure.