Generally, I'm not a fan of reality TV. I get enough reality as an ombuds, listening to the trials and tribulations of my visitors. However, I do watch "Project Runway." The contestants, judges and fashion design are only marginally interesting; I watch mostly because of Tim Gunn. Ostensibly, Gunn – who is a fashion expert in his own right – is there simply to get the contestant designers to talk about their work for the cameras. But he is much more than that. Gunn acts as a mentor, coach, dean and facilitator. He is urbane, wise, empathetic and witty. And he has the vocabulary of an academic. I suspect he also gives informal feedback to the producers of the show. For these reasons, I consider him an honorary ombuds.
Related post: An Ombuds By Any Other Name.