The political X Factor
Who needs Simon Cowell? The creator of the X Factor was offering to enliven the next election with a political version of his talent show.
Now, though, the British electorate will get what it deserved - proper televised debates between the leaders of the UK's three biggest parties. The judging will not be by Cheryl Cole. The voting will not be by phone or text. The electorate as a whole will decide by casting votes in the ballot box.
Simply by taking place at all these debates will make history - helping to determine who occupies Number 10 and what policies they pursue.
The cynics will say that Gordon Brown had no choice but to agree, given how far behind he is in the polls. However, other prime ministers did just that - refusing to take the risk or, in John Major's case, agreeing so late as to be impossible.
The prime minister will now hope to demonstrate that whether or not he's loveable, he is the man with the substance and experience needed to carry on doing the job. His negotiating team demanded that the debates be themed by subject and continues to argue that they should be moved around the country rather than all staged in London.
David Cameron will believe that, head-to-head, he can demonstrate that it is time for a change not just from Brown the man - but from the whole New Labour era. His team resisted Labour's initial push for a long series of head-to-head debates involving two leaders at a time.
Nick Clegg will scarcely be able to believe his luck as the first leader of the third party to share top billing with his big two rivals. His team saw any debates as an unprecedented opportunity to invite the country to say "a plague on both your houses".
Tonight, and in the lead-up to these debates, clips will be played and memories trawled for those TV moments that changed the course of events - the moment Nixon looked shifty or Reagan joked that he wouldn't exploit his opponent's age. Of course, for every one of those, there were times when debates were pedestrian, over-rehearsed or, even, dull.
Who cares? This isn't showbusiness. It's democracy, and at long long last the British electorate is to enjoy what voters in countries all over the world take for granted - the chance to see and hear and judge those who would lead them and then to vote.