A clean sweep for the ratings

Not too long ago, I would schedule my evenings around shows like "The Bachelor" and "Joe Millionaire." If one of my friends happened to miss an episode, well, I would be the one to fill them in or provide a videotape of the program.

But now, with a whole slew of matchmaking programs out there - such as "For Love or Money," "Paradise Hotel," and the upcoming "Cupid" - I find myself unable to keep up. So I've traded in my remote for paint rollers and mops to tackle long put-off house projects. It's unbelievable the amount of work I've accomplished with the TV turned off. I've put a fresh coat of paint on our basement walls, reorganized the file cabinets, and steam-cleaned our rugs.

But something tells me this hard work won't last long, especially now that I've heard about some reality shows that have nothing to do with love, dating, or money. Suddenly, cleaning is sexy, and the new show "How Clean is Your House?" is the buzz in Britain. The show stars Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie, two women who visit unkempt houses and offer tips on how to keep sinks shiny and floors gleaming.

Once the house is scrubbed, it's time to throw a party. The new show "The Dinner Party Inspectors" stars two women who offer running commentary while spying on social gatherings by closed-circuit television. (Picture Martha Stewart run amok.)

It might not be long before these shows reach the US. After all, "American Idol," "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and the king of home-improvement shows, "Trading Spaces," all started across the Atlantic. So until then, back to scrubbing the sink and the floors, before the cleaning hosts decide to do a pop-in. I'll be ready.

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