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Entertainment behind the scenes

“Balloon Boy” and the drive for reality TV fame


Now that authorities say last week’s balloon boy incident was just a hoax, the public is getting re-acquainted with the underside of reality television. Richard and Mayumi Heene, parents of the 6 year-old bothe-heenesy thought to be trapped in a balloon before he was found in an attic, are expected to be charged this week with making up the whole scenario.

If what authorities are saying about the Heenes is true, they may have been hungering for fame, and saw the hoax as a great way to get a reality TV show. As everyone knows by know, the Heenes already starred in a past episode of the reality show “Wife Swap.”

Reality TV is littered with personalities who have cashed in on whatever public prominence they have gained to try and become a media star.

The latest is disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is making a bid to star on Donald Trump’s reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.” Following his arrest last year on corruption charges, the much mocked Blagojevich became a reviled. But lack of popularity has never been much of a liability in the reality TV world, which relies heavily on villain-type personalities such as married provocateurs Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

“Balloon Boy,” the video game


First, there was the television reality show “Wife Swap” that first introduced young Falcon Heene and his family to the public. Then the 6 year-old Colorado child was quickly nicknamed “Balloon Boy” on Thursday, when a giant Mylar balloon thought to be lofting him to the heavens riveted TV viewers, until the whole story popped. Now that we know Falcon is safe and sound, there’s “Balloon  Boy” the video game.balloon-boy1

The free game, available to play at this website, is a creation of the San Francisco-based startup Heyzap. In the game, “Balloon Boy” must use a laser zapper to defend himself from birds, muckracking documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and UFOs, all the while holding fast to the side of the Mylar aircraft.