Jeff Probst’s Live for the Moment pilot debuts, is like Make a Wish meets The Bucket List

About a year after it was filmed, the pilot episode for Jeff Probst’s Live for the Moment finally airs. The series was originally called Live Like You’re Dying, probably because it follows a terminally ill man who goes on a series of dream-fulfilling adventures that Probst has arranged for him.

The year-long delay doesn’t seem to bode well for it going to series, but really, the reception will determine if the show; promoting the show in Entertainment Weekly, Probst writes, “Love it or hate it, write to me and tell me! Let’s do this together! CBS will read this and if enough people respond… your comments will have an impact on whether we do more episodes or not.”

I’m not the biggest fan of shows that exist to be uplifting (I’d prefer those moments to come organically rather than being forced), but I like Probst as a television personality, so I was interested to see what he’d come up with. But I just couldn’t get into the pilot when I watched it a few weeks ago. It ends up being a sort of televised Bucket List meets Make a Wish, and it’s really great to give someone those kinds of experiences, but it’s somewhat awkward television. (Also awkward: At the very least, it’s in the same subgenre as Phil Keoghan’s No Opportunity Wasted, on which people fulfilled a dream.)

There’s also more telling than showing; I don’t doubt that the subject of the episode (Roger Childs, who is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease) is an amazing guy, but it’s mostly people talking about how amazing he is, and we don’t see him living for the moment in his everyday life, we just get to see him doing things like skiing with Probst. Because of that, it’s not inspirational, at least not in the way that it wants to be. But that is the goal: Probst wrote in EW, “if we did this show right … it may inspire you to live a fuller life.”

Maybe I’m just off here, but I’ll be interested to see what others think, and how it rates. Here’s an extended preview:

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.