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Summer 2005 | Volume 28, Number 2 | Features

Reality Check

SPU Alumni Participate in the Reality Show Phenomenon

WHEN JOHN GRANGE ’01 was asked to audition for the new CBS reality series “Fire Me Please” nine months ago, he proceeded cautiously. “I was worried that the joke was on me,” says Grange, wise to the sometimes shifty nature of reality television.

It turned out the four-episode series was legitimately seeking actors to play the part of new employees on their first day of work. And, as the show’s name implied, there was a catch. You had to get fired as close to 3:00 p.m. as possible, not a minute later — all while hidden cameras recorded everything.

Easy? Grange points out the ground rules: “You can’t break the law, and you can’t ask to be fired.” It’s no wonder each episode’s winner was awarded $25,000. Talk about a hard day’s work.

Grange, whose background in improvisational performance and acting dates back to his years as a student at SPU, appeared on the show’s June 28, 2005, episode. At Big Apple Smoothies, a café in White Plains, New York, he spent the good portion of a day trying to get fired. His best strategy? Talking on his cell phone — on the clock, of course.

Though he didn’t win (he was fired at 3:13 p.m.), Grange enjoyed his first appearance on national television. “It was difficult, but I did my best,” says the Los Angeles resident, who works as a freelance publicist for a company called The PR Collective Inc. while pursuing a career in acting.

Grange is among a growing cohort of SPU alumni who have appeared on reality TV shows in recent years. Dirk Been ’98, who lived on the fifth floor of Ashton Hall along with Grange, was featured on the first season of NBC’s original reality show “Survivor.” Jennifer Montzingo ’05 made an appearance ast year on the Fox Network’s reality show “The Littlest Groom” — basically “The Bachelor” featuring little people.

Summing up his own encounter with reality television, Grange says, “It was quite a weird, wam-bam experience — but I had a really fun time.”


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