Call me confused. I’m frequently stumped when a cable network deviates from its original purpose to pursue generic reality shows, readily available elsewhere.
The newest CNBC offering is “Crowd Rules” (8 p.m.) a show so unabashedly unoriginal, it just might work. Imagine the set from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the music from “The Apprentice” and the general thrust of “Shark Tank” and you’re getting close.
Every week on “Crowd Rules,” three small businesses appear before a panel of rather slick-looking experts in hopes of receiving a $50,000 cash prize. First, they must describe their business, its problems and opportunities, and explain what they would do with the grant. Unlike “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs get the opportunity to buy into a business in part or swallow it whole, the emphasis here is on keeping the business in its owners’ hands.
The “new” wrinkle in “Crowd” is the studio audience. It consists of 100 business owners, experts and consultants, whose vote is the only thing that counts. Not to give too much away, but in the episode made available for review, the “crowd” completely ignored the advice of the judges — not unlike the home audience on “Dancing With the Stars.”
One wishes “Crowd” took the crowd-funding idea even further, inviting viewers to follow along at home, or on the Internet and vote with their own modest investments, via Kickstarter, eBay, Paypal or some other online transaction site. But that could get sticky, and seem weird in repeats. And I’m sure we’ll get plenty of chances to watch reruns of “Crowd Rules,” while CNBC ignores its real job of reporting business news.
Tonight’s season finales:
• The hunt for Eli David and Jackie Vance’s killer continues on “NCIS” (7 p.m., CBS).
• A nuclear blast gets everybody’s attention on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS).
• Taylor Swift and Rob Reiner guest-star on “New Girl” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Mindy volunteers in Haiti on “The Mindy Project” (8:30 p.m., Fox).
• Clark makes the most of a desk-duty demotion on “Golden Boy” (9 p.m., CBS).