WATCH: ‘4 Days to Save the world’ was a reality show with big ambitions. See a preview of the Star’s investigation as it digs through a massive archive to uncover what ‘The World Is Running Out Of Food’ actually looked like in 1997.
The only problem with 4 Days to Save the World was, it was never made.
The idea of a reality show about food that took a serious look at the planet’s dwindling supply of food was only a year old when Al Jazeera’s 4 Days to Save the World was on the air in the United Arab Emirates. The eight-part series, which was shot in London and Dubai, and was aired on the network’s affiliate, Al Jazeera English, on Nov. 13, 1997, was an ambitious move for the broadcaster, which was just entering its 10th season. 4 Days to Save the World, as it became known, was an attempt by Al Jazeera to take on some of the big news stories in its new home country like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the fall of the Soviet Union.
It was also a risk for Al Jazeera. The network had previously had a reputation of being a niche news organization in a much more global world. It had also previously had a record of producing quality, long-form, investigative journalism.
Those things came into play as part of the 4 Days to Save the World producers’ struggle to find a balance between making a compelling story that audiences would want to hear, and making a show that would be seen by enough people that Al Jazeera’s production team could survive the loss of a few million dollars.
The producers were in constant discussion, and the 4 Days to Save the World team was a busy one. At the same time, Al Jazeera wanted its viewers to become more aware of the world’s crises. 4 Days to Save the World brought awareness to the issues facing the world. Its goal as a show was to make viewers feel less alone.