WGBH, the Boston PBS affiliate, and vocal Who’s Your Daddy critic Adam Pertman are teaming up on their own adoption program, a program they promise will be nothing like the controversial Fox reality show.
Pertman is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
He unsuccessfully lobbied Fox to abandon plans to air Who’s Your Daddy, a show that offered an adopted woman $100,000 to correctly identifying her biological father. The money would decrease if she picked the wrong one.
WGBH on Saturday announced plans for the documentary about adopted children and their families, slated to air next year.
"This is not Who’s Your Daddy," WGBH Vice President Margaret Drain said in an interview. "Adoption is not a game. It is not a reality show. It’s about people’s lives and you have to be careful not to trivialize it."
Fox ran Who’s Your Daddy Jan. 3, in the face of protests from adoption advocates. The network came in fourth place that night, with a 2.2 rating/5 share.
The contestant wound up picking correctly, sparing viewers the sight of the teary-eyed woman investing all that emotional energy in the wrong dad.
In an editorial printed in newspapers across the U.S., Pertman said that the show’s producers appeared to know little about reunions between adopted children and their birth parents.
ABC also took heat for promotion of a Barbara Walters special on adoption last fall that lead viewers to believe it would be a kind of reality show competition for a baby. It wasn't, proving far more sensitive to the issue than the promotion had been.