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two chairs

Not only 
a game. A game of life and death. For chicago.
a game for TV news to show chicago's LEADERS actually LEADING
A citywide game to make chicago safe 


It's just three weekly minutes on the TV evening news.

But it's the talk of the town when it airs.

Because it shows Chicago leaders

- even feuding leaders -

collaborating to

TO make chicago safe

on one or more of Chicago's six  network TV stations

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Two Chairs:

a TV news remedy for the endless

blaming,  bickering and buck passing that

Chicagoans constantly see on the evening news

about violence and public safety.

that's right.

one tv STATION
two empty chairs
three game changing minutes. . .

with the chairs taken by

two top Chicago leaders

and not just by ANY  top leaders, but by

two publicly


chicago LEADERs

it could be any oF these 

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or these 

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or better yet

these two 




to make chicago safe

so how to make it happen?


here's how - in five steps:


first: find two feuding leaders

Willing to
to make Chicago


Easier said than done, right? But we can find them. Because feuding city leaders will accrue great benefits, both personal and political, when they agree to work together on live TV to make Chicago SAFE.


To accrue these benefits, they need only to set aside their political differences LONG ENOUGH to complete on deadline, within six or eight weeks, a  




ok, so when we find two leaders . . .

What happens on the first

TWO CHAIRS segment?

The segment opens dramatically, showing two empty chairs on a bare, darkened set. Within seconds, the two leaders silently take their seats. The silence is total. Viewers wonder: what's happening?


For a long moment, the leaders face each other, making eye contact. As the set gradually lightens, viewers recognize them as top Chicago leaders. Well known in news media for their personal and political animosity.

The leaders then rise and shake hands in silence. They turn to face the camera. Standing side by side, they introduce themselves. By name and title only.

Now they walk over to join a TV anchor seated at the station's regular interview desk.

In two sentences the moderator explains the Two Chairs concept. He/she then invites the leaders to discuss their Special Project to MAKE CHICAGO SAFE. And, their pledge to complete their project on deadline six or eight weeks from today. The leaders have 60 seconds to do so. Then they pledge to complete their project on deadline, shaking hands a second time. 


The segment concludes with all three personalities rising walking back to the two chairs. Standing in front of the two chairs, the fact the camera in a gesture of respect to the viewing public. Standing between the leaders, the moderator informs viewers that they have see a TV first in Chicago's ongoing efforts address its violence effectively.

He/she then previews what viewers can expect to see in coming weeks:


  • Weeks 2 - 7: Weekly one minute updates with video clips showing progress made (or not made) to date towards project completion.

  • Week 8: The final segment. 4 minutes to celebrate successful completion of the feuding leaders' special project on deadline or to account to the viewing public for failure to do so.  A deadline extension is possible.   

It's all low key. No big promises. No huge expectations. The mood is sober. There's risk involved in this game to make Chicago SAFE.  The drama is implicit but felt. 

Looking at the two leaders, the anchor asks, well, gentlemen, are you up to the challenge? They answer as they see fit. And shake hands again. 

The anchor steps forward a bit to wrap up the segment. "Stay tuned, folks. The next eight weeks should be interesting."

End of segment.


Have Chicagoans ever seen anything

like this on the TV evening news?


the two leaders are playing a game

A collaborative version of the great game
of voter driven democracy.

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Where players (and Chicagoans too)
either win or lose

The game is played in public so
Chicagoans can see it . . . and play as well. 

Winning won't come easy. It will require teamwork from big ego leaders who have refused to collaborate in the past. But the stakes for Chicago are high, in terms of public safety and the city's economic viability.

But Chicagoans love games. And the televised, rule-governed TWO CHAIRS game echoes the televised, rule-governed games of Chicago's beloved Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls and Bears.


Its rules, posted at the host TV station's website, are constantly repeated by the moderator, by the collaborating leaders and by both local and national media that will critique or complement it as they see fit.  

But that's not all. Because. . .


chicagoans are playing the game too

Two Chairs invites Chicagoans to give their input and feedback on TWO CHAIRS as it proceeds via cell phone votes, emails, polls or other media that up on it. 




But here's the thing. Only POSITIVE input makes the cut. NEGATIVE is out. Chicago needs to hear the CONSTRUCTIVE voices of its residents, especially those of citizens whose voices and ideas have never been heard in the city's mainstream media.

Two Chairs is a new use of TV.  It's a citywide experience designed to build TRUST. To DISSOLVE the MISTRUST that keeps Chicago violent today. A game to DEPOLARIZE a POLARIZED city.

Two Chairs challenges Chicagoans to bring out the best in each other - not the worst - to in Chicago's drive to make itself SAFE.


TWO CHAIRS rules don't reward whining, attacking, blaming, squabbling or buckpassing. They reward Chicagoans - top Chicago leaders - listening to and learning from each other to make Chicago SAFE.  


With these short, three minute segments,

the TV evening news  has created an ongoing,

digital-age public forum for all Chicagoans


ok, mission accomplished
so what next?

What's the FUTURE of
public safety in ChicAGO?

First, let's recap. TWO CHAIRS has just made a bit of digital-age history. For the first time, a far-sighted TV station has connected citizens and leaders of a great American city to advance the cause of citywide safety.

This station, along with the City and the people of Chicago, have collectively taken a first a step forward towards realizing the possibility of something lacking everywhere in America today:



So what's next for Two Chairs? Rinse and repeat. With fresh pairs of political foes, new projects and new pledges made and kept . . . or not kept. The game goes on.  

But TWO CHAIRS is just the beginning. Before long, more ambitious, media-based Chicago SAFE games will invite and challenge Chicagoans themselves - citizens of all ages and backgrounds to collaborate as they compete with each other in small, creative, safety-generating teams in Chicago's ongoing drive to make itself SAFE. (Here's an overview of Chicago Fixit, our most ambitious format.)

Media that aithey can profit handsomely from Chicago SAFE games. Effectively produced, the games can aggregate the largest of all large Chicago markets: the MARKET OF THE WHOLE of all Chicagoans with a stake in the safety of their neighborhoods and city. That's every man, woman and child in the city.


And the idea behind these games?


a game of life or death

for the lives of chicagoans

for chicago's future

a game that's



when all chicagoans
get the chance to work
together to

make chicago safe 

just remember

chicago made itself violent

chicago can make itself safe

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