Let's try not to call this "Simian Idol," but the hunt for a chattering Chimpanzee who may award some lucky winner a $1 billion prize next month is now in full swing.
The chimp will star in Pepsi's
"We have five potential candidates, mostly from Orlando and one or two from Miami," producer Matti Leshem said. "Although I understand that Miami chimps are a little more flamboyant." (Insert laugh track here.)
For the show, 1,000 contestants will be chosen at random out of a Pepsi sweepstakes that kicked off on May 1.
The 1,000 will then be invited to appear on a live broadcast Sept. 14, and by a drawing, be whittled down to just 10.
The 10 then get the chance to compete in a game of what Pepsi describes as "chance and guts" and play for a guaranteed $1 million.
The winner of the $1 million - who keeps the prize no matter what - will then have a 1-in-1000 chance to win the $1 billion in a lottery in which the numbers will be chosen at random by — ta da! — a chimp.
As originally conceived, the astonishing plan to give away a $1 billion prize featured using a tiny Capuchin monkey to do the deed.
But Leshem said he's opting for a chimp — a member of the ape family - because a monkey would have been too small for the finale he planned.
Leshem declined to describe exactly how the chimp will pick the winner.
In a nutshell, the trainers of the candidates for the job are given instructions by producers about exactly what they want the chimp to do. After a few days the trainer sends producers a video and if they like what they see the chimp is called in for a live audition.
"We want to know if the chimp can handle the pressure," says Leshem.