In the tradition of American Idol, I think we need a reality TV show for wanna-be writers. I'll call it The Great American Novelist. Contestants will audition their novels (or memoirs or short story or poetry collections, despite the title), readings excerpts in front of three judges. The winner gets a book deal.
I need a host. Someone like Ryan Seacrest, friendly and approachable but kind of buffoonish. Conan O'Brien fits the bill.
Then we need three judges. One of them has to be the sensitive judge, the Paula Abdul/Ellen DeGeneres/J-LO role, the judge who hates to tell contestants the truth about how bad they really are. I'm just going on hunches here, but I'll pick Janet Evanovich. She always seems cheery.
The second judge should be an established author, frank but also personable, a la Steven Tyler or Randy Jackson of the pre-Simon era. I'll go with Stephen King.
Then we need the snarky judge, the Simon Cowell, the a-hole who hates being here but entertains all of us with his/her candidly brutal comments. I'll go with either Harold Bloom or Jonathan Franzen.
Folks, I think this is gonna be a hit.