Television
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Television

Nobody loves Big Brother

Posted July 29th, 2009 by debritz

The latest series of Big Brother in the UK looks like being the last. The current season of the show, whose Australian version was axed last year, has had the worst ratings of its 10-series run. That's confirmation, I hope, that audiences are tiring of contrived conflict and want more heart-warming fare. That'd be something like MasterChef, which apparently both Channels 7 and 9 here are trying to replicate after the success of the Channel 10 version. So much for originality ....

Pugwash creator dies

Posted July 25th, 2009 by debritz

John Ryan, the creator of children's favourite Captain Pugwash, has died at the age of 88. I hope he had a sense of humour about all those rumours that emerged in the 1990s about the "sexual allusions" in the cartoon. For the record, it wasn't Roger the cabin boy, it was Tom, and there were no characters called Master Bates or Seaman Staines.

Hey, Hey no way

Posted July 25th, 2009 by debritz

Yesterday, a rumour was doing the rounds suggesting that Hey Hey It's Saturday was returning to our screens. The good news is that it's only half true. There will be two "reunion" specials of the show later this year. In a Channel Nine statement, host and producer Darryl Somers said: “All the gang are really enthusiastic and can’t wait to recreate the fun we had over the 28 years of the show. There is enormous groundswell of public support for this, so it’s the right time to do this … while we are all still here!” I know there's been a lot of support on Facebook, but history tells us that old favourites are best dead and buried - or revived with a totally new cast. Still, I suppose the people who remember the original Hey Hey are at least home on a Saturday night now, while everyone else is out having fun.
PS: On the subject of cobweb television, I saw Kingswood Country on pay-TV last night. They'd never be able to make such a show today - not just because of the racism, but because basically it wasn't naive and not funny (even though it did spawn a great catchphrase). The ep I saw featured Liddy Clark, who went on to being a controversial Queensland MP and Minister. She, surely, must cringe at the thought of it now.

Here yesterday, gone today

Posted July 24th, 2009 by debritz

On my spot with Spencer Howson on 612ABC we spoke about TV Burp (and my bold prediction that it will be a hit) and The 7pm Project, which is struggling to find an audience. I think the big problem with The 7pm Project is that it's hard to get that much good material night after night; it might have been better as a once-a-week show. Channel Ten seems willing to be patient to allow it to find an audience, but Channel 9 showed no patience at all with the American import Dance Your Ass Off. It got the A after one disappointing outing. As I've already noted, we'll see more of this in the electronic media as the companies chase a bigger share of the ever-diminishing advertising dollar.

Double burp

Posted July 23rd, 2009 by debritz

I was a big fan of Harry Hill's TV Burp when I was in the UK, and I'm sorry that we're not getting to see Hill here in Australia. But local host Ed Kavalee seems determined to remedy that by borrowing the show's format right down to the quick camera cuts, interpolating himself into scenes from other shows and using many of Hill's mannerisms. At least he was sensible enough not to go with Harry's big shirt collars. Fifteen minutes into the first episode, I'm going to call this a hit!

No digital divide

Posted July 21st, 2009 by debritz

Haven't converted to digital and worried that your TV isn't compatible with a set-top box? Well, Britain's oldest TV had just been hooked up to receive Freeview. It dates back to 1936.

Who's that girl with the young dude?

Posted July 21st, 2009 by debritz


This picture, which has popped up on Twitter file-sharing site Yfrog, shows new Doctor Who star Matt Smith, 27, on set with the Tardis, his new assistant Karen Gillan, 21, and a camera crew. The Daily Mail has more about Gillan, and pictures showing Smith's '50s-influenced costume, here.

MasterChef: the mystery deepens

Posted July 20th, 2009 by debritz

Apparently, Channel Ten did issue an embargoed press release about the MasterChef result, which makes it even more mystifying as to how the Daily Telegraph got it so wrong. That the show attracted 3.7 million viewers is no surprise. Unlike Big Brother, it had broad appeal, had largely affable and supportive hosts and, although it was in so many ways, didn't seem contrived or manipulated.
Update: Crikey has a partial explanation of things here - including the bizarre revelation that the contestants took part in hypothetical interviews after they already knew the result.

MasterChef: it's Julie

Posted July 19th, 2009 by debritz

Just as I predicted.

Farewell, Walter Cronkite

Posted July 18th, 2009 by debritz

There's an old saying that it doesn't matter what the media writes about you, as long as they spell your name properly. The Guardian, a UK publication of some quality but notorious for its spelling errors, has announced the death of veteran newsman Walter Cronkite in this story which, at least of the time of writing, includes this paragraph:


Cronkite was once named "the most trusted man in America". Presumably, he knew how to spell his own name.

A thought on MasterChef

Posted July 17th, 2009 by debritz

I don't know who's going to win MasterChef Australia but my money's on Julie. Why? Because the show is all about marketing and I think she has the kind of appeal that will sell more cookbooks.

Free for all

Posted July 17th, 2009 by debritz

"Pay TV, for free." That was the headline in street paper MX yesterday announcing Channel 9's new digital channel, Go!, which will screen "cult" shows of the type hitherto only seen on Foxtel and Austar. I was amused to read in the story the comments by a "media expert", who said:

"It's a very clever move that just might work ..If the new channel has the shows which viewers want to see, they will go there."

The "expert" went on to say that if people didn't want to watch the shows on Go!, they would watch another channel instead. Amazing!
PS: Even with this welcome initiative, the Freeview offering in Australia will be vastly inferior to that offered in the UK (where there are 31 active free-to-air channels) and elsewhere.

Project impossible?

Posted July 15th, 2009 by debritz

The swift axing of Nine's This Afternoon program will be causing some concern in the dressing rooms at Channel 10. I'm thinking specifically of those involved in The 7pm Project, the nightly "soft news" program going to air soon. If Ten's managers are as ruthless as Nine's - and there are sound fincancial reasons why they should be - the cast and crew will be praying for instant success, especially among younger viewers.

This Afternoon axed

Posted July 15th, 2009 by debritz

Channel 9 says it will "not procede" with its This Afternoon program. A network statement says:

Nine Network Director of News, Mark Calvert said: “While this is regrettable, our attitude is that it is better to have given it a shot. In the short time it was on air the team worked hard, but it was clear the program was struggling to attract a sizeable audience. It is vital that we recognise this and act swiftly.”

From today, Nine will broadcast a half-hour news bulletin at 4.30pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow at 5.00pm. Millionaire Hot Seat continues its successful run at 5.30pm.
Nine will be talking to the THIS afternoon team in the comings days about redeployment across the network’s extensive news and current affairs programming.
Calvert said: “Our absolute focus remains on placing news and current affairs at the very heart of the network and its resurgence.
“Nine News is a great brand, much loved and trusted by Australian viewers. As they’ve seen recently with our coverage of big news events, such as the death of Michael Jackson and the Victorian bush fires, the experience and authority of our journalists and news-gathering teams is second to none.
“We’re more determined than ever to demonstrate to viewers – and our rivals – that when news happens, they’ll see it first on Nine.”

No word on a comeback by Extra, though.

Why too much sport makes us unhealthy

Posted July 15th, 2009 by debritz

As the third and final 2009 NRL State of Origin game looms large, I'd like to make one thing perfectly clear: I am not anti-sport. I (very briefly) played Aussie rules as a child; I used to support Easts in the old QRL competition (even though we lived in Wests territory); I've been to one or two Origin games and a few NRL fixtures at Suncorp Stadiun; I went to the Gabba a couple of weeks ago to watch the Lions trounce the Demons; and I was even in the studio audience for The Footy Show a few years ago. On top of that, my mother and sister are Broncos season-ticket holders. Having said all that, I get extremely annoyed by the presumption, reflected in the media and political circles, that Australia is a football-mad nation. Why?

Can Ten reclaim the nights?

Posted July 14th, 2009 by debritz

From what I can gather, Channel 10's new 7pm Project will be something like breakfast radio - but on TV and in the evening. The participation of Dave Hughes gives me some confidence - he was the best thing about the Logies - but I'm not sold on James Mathison. At least, in the promos, he no longer looks like a possum caught in a spotlight.

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