The Buffalo Sabres are staging their own reality show at a downtown arena near you.
They are calling it their Emcee Contest, and it's a combination of "American Idol" and "Survivor," with the winner serving as the team's in-game Jumbotron host for 10 games this season.
The winner will have to survive four rounds of competition, with each of the four finalists co-hosting a portion of a home game in October. The winner will be announced during the Oct. 19 game against Columbus.
"It's got some 'American Idol' feel to it in the initial audition process," said Matt Gould, the team's executive producer for broadcast and game presentation. "It's a talent search, so it's all these reality shows wrapped into one."
Gould said that the Sabres are not necessarily looking for the person with the most extensive hockey background or knowledge. "We're looking more for an entertaining person," he said.
The initial round will be an on-camera audition, with applicants either dropping off or mailing in a tape not to exceed 2 minutes. Those who can't make such a tape may attend a live casting call in HSBC Arena from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 4.
Various rounds of the competition will chop the field to 20 competitors, then 10 and finally four before a winner is chosen. Fan voting will be part of that process, although the Sabres staff will make the final decision on the winner.
"We'll take into account what the fans like and don't like," Gould said.
The Sabres are announcing the contest today. Application forms and contest rules are available at www.sabres.com.