Tuesday, 28 August 2007

August blues

Sorry for the lack of updates here but I've been covering for about 4,237 holidaying staff and haven't had two minutes to rub together. Or something.

Also it's the Edinburgh TV Festival, and I thought it'd make a change to keep my head down and not say anything about tv at all. Someone has to offset all the hot air being blown around in Sconny Botland.

I've had some wild old times up there at the festival, but as they were mixed in with 9am sessions about daytime formats or ratings trends, my memories aren't all of puking on the shoes of the then controller of ITV or seeing a famous newsreader drunkenly sit in a bowl of hummus. The £2K+ price of getting there, staying there, getting into the sessions and all that is a wee bit steep, even if I did see have the joy of seeing the finance controller of a major indie almost get his face punched in when he asked for a receipt for two pints of lager in a rough pub on the wrong side of town.

Still, what was said sounds reasonably promising for The Future Of Telly And That. C4 concentrating on public service stuff (TICK), working with small indies (EXTRA 100 TICKS), and 'dropping' Celeb Big Bro (TICKTICK) - although they've said they're "resting" it from C4, and redoing the format for E4, not cancelling it altogether for a year, something that's not being reported much.

Five spending more on UK commissions can't be a bad thing, the BBC wondering how to save lots of money (here's an idea - trim News 24 to cost just twice as much as Sky News instead of gabillions of times as much. TICK!) and lots of serious-faced execs saying how tv needs to get the viewers' trust back.

Here are three random ideas:-


Like those American ads that have fast legal voiceovers... "new Flemgone, proven to get rid of flem for good. Side-effects-include-flem-sweating-vomiting-and-death". Press your red button to get captions or commentary on a show, so if a cutaway was filmed after on The X Factor (CROSS!), a voice goes "Simon-Cowell-made-that-face-for-another-act" in a dead quick voice. "Dermot-O-Leary-isn't-really-in-Birmingham-he's-been-keyed-on"... "Louis-Walsh-wasn't-fired-it-was-all-a-publicity-stunt"..."That-tall-man-won't-be-back-to-choreograph-the-live-shows-as-he-has-REALLY-been-fired"... and all that*


No more crushing the credits, endlessly selling us the next show. No trailers repeated on a loop, especially on digital channels where it's the same ones every break. I know it works but STOP IT NOW. No ramping up the volume for the commercials - it's actually against the rules but all the digital channels do it. So STOP IT NOW. As with "And there'll be more Coronation Street in half an hour". No, there shouldn't be. There's plenty on already. STOP IT NOW.

No more overrunning by two minutes here and there so when you switch over you've missed the start of something - or, worse, your PVR or video has missed the end. It's not big or clever and might get you an extra 0.1% of viewers for the next show as they can't be arsed catching up if they've missed the beginning of something else, but IT ANNOYS THE HELL OUT OF THE OTHER 99.9%. Just be more honest, straightforward and less salesly, preachy and Blair-y. The King of Spin has gone, learn the lesson. STOP IT NOW.


You pay peanuts, you get high salt and fat content... er, or is it monkeys? Anyway, budgets for most shows haven't moved for years and costs have gone up. So there are fewer, cheaper people making them. And the incredible, astonishing, totally unexpected result is that the shows on air aren't quite as good as they used to be. *GASP*. Due to inexperience, deadlines, lack of training and lots of other things that aren't interesting enough to make headlines. So pay more per show or just make fewer eps of Antique Car Boot Auction Sale Challenge! for the same price.

Um, I meant to log on and say "oops, am busy, back soon" and look at that; I've just invented a way to make telly trustworthy again. Sweet.

*By the way, The X Factor is on top form right now, unmissable telly. Not much I can add to the fab reviews apart from it's simply a well-produced, well-funded, well-thought out show with oodles of talent on and off camera. I was at the gym on Sunday and the six people on the cross trainers next to me were watching the repeat on their tv screens. They howled with laughter at the bad ones and looked dead emotional at the soldier not going to Iraq again 'cos he got through.

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