I’m thisclose to breaking up with commercial TV. For shizzle. Too many times I’ve being enticed to watch shows which are then yanked after a week or have their time slot changed incessantly. While watching The United States of Tara the other night on ABC1….
….it occurred to me that if it had been on a commercial network, I wouldn’t have wanted to commit to watching even one episode to try it because chances are, it wouldn’t have been on ever again. Having worked in commercial TV for a *cough* nanosecond…….I understand that the commercial pressures are different to those of the national broadcaster or of cable TV. I get that.
Ratings and the pressure they create are, in short, a bitch. But you can only stuff with people’s patience and loyalty so many times by chopping and changing shows and time slots before we just stand up and leave the room.
One of the reasons I think that ABC1 is enjoying record TV ratings with a number of their shows this past year or two is the CONSISTENCY. Sure the programs are also great quality but I can tell you a bunch of shows that are on at particular times on particular days. Like Australian Story (so incredibly moving last week about Ian Rogerson and his autistic son Jack). And Q&A. And the 7:30 Report.
With prime time commercial TV, about the only shows whose time slots I could name are 60 Minutes and Rove (and even then I often forget if it’s 8:30 or 9:30).
Oh, and The 7pm Project. Perhaps if more shows had their timeslot in their title, I might be able to remember when to bloody watch them.
Another possible reason for the success of Masterchef is that I KNEW WHEN IT WAS ON. Every night was good! I can remember that!
But with new shows being launched, promoted like hell and then yanked after one night or two, well, it gets to the point where you just think – why would I invest my time and attention in this show when it will probably never be on again? Oh wait, I won’t.
More and more, I’m finding myself on my computer when I want to relax or be entertained. It’s been heading this way for a couple of years and lately, TV is just barely on my radar. Some of this is about control – I can customise the experience I have online and create my own parameters around it. But much of it is about confidence. Confidence that if I commit to following something, my loyalty and the investment of my time will be returned by the network.
Do you watch much TV anymore?
Which shows are you loving and which have you loved and lost?