Nick Mamatas has the best response I've yet seen to the frightening-but-somehow-amusing idea of "America's Book Millionaire" (impossible to excerpt, so go read it in full).
It made me think that a good "reality TV" show would not be one along these lines, but rather one that took a bunch of writers of vastly different sensibilities and temperaments and stuck them in a little house together. Call it "Fictional World".
For instance, maybe they could all go live with J.D. Salinger. Wouldn't that be fun? Who would be the contestants? J.D. Salinger, of course, since he's already there. And Stephen King. And Harold Bloom. And Stanley Crouch and Dale Peck for a little lighthearted slapping. Can't have only men, though. Camille Paglia's always fun to hang out with, and I'm sure she'd get along well with all the guys in the house. Maybe add Anne Rice for a fun dynamic, Toni Morrison for a mix of popularity and intellect, and Carole Maso as a wild card.
Need some young upstarts? Well, we could include Heidi Julavits to keep the snark levels low, and Jonathan Safran Foer to be a snark magnet.
If the first season is a hit, I can imagine all sorts of fun later. "Fictional World: Providence" could have various members of the Brown University faculty living with members of the H.P. Lovecraft Society. "Fictional World: New York" could make rural writers like Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder live with the "New York women" recently nominated for the National Book Award. "Fictional World: Oxford" would let M. John Harrison and David Brin live in Tolkien's house.
Oh, the possibilities....