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DOHA, Qatar (CAP) - In the wake of celebrity chef Rachael Ray's controversial Dunkin' Donuts ad - in which she wore a scarf similar to the kind typically worn by Muslim extremists - the Al Jazeera network is reportedly courting Ray to host its new reality show, So You Think You're a Terrorist.
Dunkin' Donuts initially insisted that the scarf's resemblance to an Islamic keffiyeh was strictly coincidental, but was forced to acknowledge its intent when two other photos from the same shoot turned up on the Internet - one of Ray brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle, and another of her apparently beheading a Starbucks barista with a cruller.
"At first we thought, what could endear our corporation to honest, hard-working Americans more than an association with the Islamic jihad?" said Dunkin' Donuts CEO Jon Luther. "In retrospect, we probably just should have gone with our idea to bring back the time-to-make-the-donuts guy."
But even if the ad didn't endear the company to most Americans, it did endear Ray to the producers of So You Think You're a Terrorist, which is set to debut on the Al Jazeera networks in spring of 2009.
"Whenever I saw her on TV, saying things like yum-o and How good is that?, I had a suspicion that she supported the intifada," said show producer Abu Ubeid al-Qurashi, speaking on a grainy videotape delivered by an anonymous courier to the Al Jazeera offices. "It became immediately clear to me that she could make terrorism seem, how you say, delish."
According to a spokespeson for the Rachael Ray show who declined to be named, Ray is considering the offer, but is concerned about the message being associated with terrorists - even amateur terrorists - would send to her fan base. "Also, she'd have to wear a burqa, which would obscure her million-megawatt smile," noted the spokesperson.
Still, it wouldn't be the first time Ray has taken risks with her wardrobe choices, noted Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales. "Remember those short shorts she wore in FHM?" he asked. "Eww."
But Ubeid al-Qurashi is convinced that Ray's "personality would shine through," even if she was covered from head to toe in black poly-cotton blend. "I think she would be particularly effective in moderating the Tribal Council at the end of each show, where a group of trainees is chosen to move on, and the rest are taken out back and shot," said Ubeid al-Qurashi. "Um - symbolically of course!"
Meanwhile, Ray is apparently not the only controversial American celebrity reportedly being courted for a reality show in a foreign country. Sharon Stone, who made headlines when she suggested that China's recent deadly earthquake could have been an example of ‘bad karma' resulting from the country's notorious human rights violations, has been tapped by China Central Television to host a show called Sharon Stone's Bad Karma.
"It's an out-there idea, but I think I might be up for it," said Stone at a press conference in Beijing earlier this week, who noted that the losing contestants at the end of each episode would have to sit with her and watch Basic Instinct 2.
"Did I mention I was naked in that?" asked Stone, prompting the producers and the production team in attendance to roll their eyes and say in unison, "Yes, Sharon, we know, we know."
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