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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

7 sharp

Difficult as it is to write a preview of something upon which nothing is available, this has not stopped others from making predictions - and it won't stop me either. Having seen the inevitably try-hard promos the conclusion is not going to be favourable.

The core problem for this format will almost certainly be the constraints imposed by the lite/humour angle and the breezy, fast tempo envisaged. The 7pm slot following the main news is entrenched as current affairs time in the minds of the viewers since Holmes started in 1989. Reducing that element to a secondary function, or to have it replaced with pure entertainment (as they threaten to do) will create an uneasy tension. Many lead stories - the ones the nation talks about and the ones they presumably will have to feature or mention - are tragedy and death. How on earth will a frivilous show (like Seven Sharp is promoted as being) possibly deal with that somber content matter? It can't and they won't.

They cannot maintain the playful vibe they are after with these stories so the result will be they just won't be featured or dealt with at all. There will be days when there is a major tragedy - something unavoidable with wall-to-wall coverage - and it will be awkward because they can't touch it. There will be days when death and suffering and woe are occupying everyone's attention and what are the Seven Sharp team supposed to do? Make some jokes about it? It won't be possible. Avoid saying anything about it at all, like it never happened? That's just not possible either. The limitations will show up fairly early. Going with a more orthodox show format like Holmes or Campbell Live gives a flexibility to deal with anything - funny, sad, flippant, serious. Seven Sharp will never be able to manage that based on the little I've seen.

The other negative is that it is TVNZ. They have an establishment, institutional, bureacratic method and many shows have withered under that fatal, fetid breath of conformism and interference that kills the creative talent. Making anything on TV One "sharp" in a 7pm slot will be impossible. They are not capable of it. They can't be cutting and edgy because of the time it airs and the management will militate against pushing things too far.

So it is going to be bland as a matter of course; therefore the measure of success for the show for me will be to what extent the presenters are allowed to express their personalities. If the three of them can be themselves and even more importantly gel together then it could be something, but this will be against all the odds. John Campbell is kicking arse at the moment so they will need plenty of breaks - good luck to those poor bastards, they'll be needing it.

3 Comments:

At 24/1/13 10:28 a.m., Blogger Damian said...

I love it when 'media experts' make these assertions like "John Campbell is kicking arse at the moment". Last night, in its demographic (25-54) which is the one all the advertisers look at, and the one which must be of some relevance to any show in primetime, Campbell Live rated the lowest I've EVER seen it. 2.7%. That means 2.7% of 25-54 year olds were watching it.

Forget the old days where a 12.0 was the target - last year a 6.0 was good. A 5.0 was okay. A 4.0 was bad. So that's a new low.

By contrast, 7.3 were watching a Border Patrol re-run, and 14.5 were watching Shortland Street. Simpsons re-runs on FOUR weren't far of with 1.9.

I appreciate ratings aren't by any means the only measure. But it suggests that the arse-kicking programme that Campbell Live is producing isn't appealing to as many people as it needs to.

 
At 24/1/13 10:35 a.m., Blogger Damian said...

"John Campbell is kicking arse at the momet"

In which way? I like the new billboards, and I like some of the stories, but unfortunately the test of any primetime show is how many people watch it. And last night was a new low - 2.7% in the "key" 25-54 demographic.

The old target for a 7pm show was a 12.0. Last year a good Campbell show got 6.0, okay was 5.0, bad was 4.0. So that's not a great start to the year with a whole lot of marketing, where the only competition is a re-run of Border Patrol (7.3%) and Shortland St (14.5%).

I like Campbell, and I like Campbell's show, but even if you don't agree with ratings, or their method, or measuring shows by popuarity, someone will be.


 
At 27/1/13 9:18 p.m., Blogger Frank said...

"Last night, in its demographic (25-54) which is the one all the advertisers look at, and the one which must be of some relevance to any show in primetime, Campbell Live rated the lowest I've EVER seen it. 2.7%. That means 2.7% of 25-54 year olds were watching it.

Forget the old days where a 12.0 was the target - last year a 6.0 was good. A 5.0 was okay. A 4.0 was bad. So that's a new low.

By contrast, 7.3 were watching a Border Patrol re-run, and 14.5 were watching Shortland Street. Simpsons re-runs on FOUR weren't far of with 1.9."

Damien, if they put porn and non-stop violence on TV, and that rated well, would that make it ok? (Some would say it's happening already.)

The networks can deliver bubblegum tv to the masses till our brains turn to custard and our eyes are bloodshot with non-stop vacant gazing at the idiot box.

But is it TV that really contributes anything?

Have you ever watched a movie called "Idiocracy"? If not, I suggest you do. It's highly entertaining - with a piercing insight into Western society.

By the way, I'm of an age to remember TV when content wasn't determined by "rating". I seem to recall it was vastly more watcheable then. It was of "merchantible quality" and good variety.

Which is how they also describe good food.

Quality and variety.

It's a shame the same can't be said of the junk that currently spews from our sets these days...

 

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