NEW YORK (AFP)An NBC television reality show featuring US celebrities competing in quasi-military drills is coming under fire from Nobel laureates and other critics who say the idea trivialises a deadly serious subject. Nine Nobel prize winners have called on the network to cancel the program, titled “Stars Earn Stripes,” which debuted Monday hours after a protest outside NBC’s offices in New York.

The premiere earned lackluster ratings despite being heavily promoted during the broadcast of the London Olympic Games.

The contest focuses on eight celebrities paired with military troops who put them through exercises and pseudo “missions” that are supposed to resemble the real thing endured by US soldiers.