Today, however, we bring you news of a Malaysian reality-TV show in which 10 contestants compete to become the next big . . . imam.
Producers of "Imam Muda," or "Young Leader," say they want to find a religious leader for these times, a pious but modern-ish Muslim who can prove that religion remains relevant to Malaysian youths despite the influence of Western pop culture.
And what better place to do that than on cable?
How progressive. Is the U.S. ready for "America's Top Reverend"? Maybe synagogues will soon be choosing their next rabbis this way. Maybe the Catholic Church will soon dispense with the puff of smoke for "Vatican Idol."
"If you think Cardinal Abernathy should be the next pope, dial 1-800- . . ."
But back to Malaysia, where the contestants have faced challenges of washing corpses according to Islamic rites, counseling unmarried pregnant women and joining a police crackdown on teenage motorcycle racers, before a panel of judges.
Their Randy: "That was a little pitchy, dawg-ma."
As for first prize (and we're not making this up), the winner gets a job as prayer leader at a big-time mosque, a scholarship to study in Saudi Arabia, an all-expenses-paid pilgrimage to Mecca, a new laptop, $6,400 in cash . . . and a brand new car!
A 'Thriller' of a sale
Bidders from around the world bought up Michael Jackson memorabilia worth nearly $1 million at an auction on the anniversary of his death, including $190,000 for the Swarovski-crystal-studded glove he wore on his 1984 Victory Tour.
The bidding that began Friday on more than 200 items was "unlike anything we've ever experienced," said Darren Julien of Julien's Auctions, which ran the auction at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
The glove had been expected to sell for between $20,000 and $30,000. The winning bidder was Wanda Kelley of Los Angeles, who also bought a number of Jackson's albums at the auction, the Las Vegas Sun reported. She said she was prepared to go higher if necessary.
"Let's just say I wasn't walking out of here without that glove," Wanda said.
In other craziness, a pair of Jackson's stage-worn loafers that were listed as worth $2,000 to $3,000 went for $90,000.
The custom jacket he wore during his interview with Barbara Walters was listed at $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $120,000.
A white Fedora sold for $56,250. One of the last autographs Jackson signed - and dated June 24, 2009, in his handwriting - went for $21,000.
Non-Jackson items that sold at the auction included:
A Jimi Hendrix Fender guitar for $180,000.
Prince's "Purple Rain" handwritten lyrics, which sold for $66,000.
An Elvis Presley shirt worn in 1956 on "The Milton Berle Show," which fetched $61,200.
* With all the excitement over the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, the anniversary of the death of Farrah Fawcett slipped under the radar.
But Alana Stewart, Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal and Redmond O'Neal were among guests at an intimate gathering Friday at the new offices of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, which funds alternative cancer research and treatment methods and aims to improve the quality of life of those with the disease.
Ryan O'Neal said the first anniversary of Fawcett's death had been an emotional one for his family. Their 25-year-old son, Redmond, who has been dogged by drug problems and was jailed during his mother's final days, visited Farrah's grave for the first time Friday.
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.