TV’s getting dodgy

Poor Yasmin. First she can’t find a guy to marry her, then her TV network dumps her. The network has agreed to pay for Yasmin’s wedding (once she finds someone), so she’s probably done OK out of the whole debacle. The odds of a made-for reality- TV wedding enduring are probably even slimmer than those on of Shane Warne’s next marriage.

The show’s problem was there was no competition. If they’d had a dozen brides fighting over a prospective groom, viewers might have been interested. But when the only conflict was within Yasmin’s tedious psyche, it’s not surprising they switched off.
So one appalling TV program departs, only to be replaced with a far greater evil: late-night quizzes.
The first of these was Big Brother Up-Late, in which Mike Goldman mixed obvious call-in word puzzles with scintillating footage of housemates sleeping. It’s amazing Adults Only attracted so much controversy when by any quality standard, Up-Late was far more offensive.

This execrable effort spawned the Up-Late Game Show, which saved housemate Hotdogs from the total obscurity he deserved, instead giving him near-total obscurity as the frontman for 90 minutes of tedious guessing games. Its success – financial, not critical – has inspired Nine and Seven to follow suit with the near-identical Quizmania and Midnight Zoo respectively.

Viewers once had some quality options, such as David Letterman’s The Late Show, before it got cut back. Now all three commercial networks broadcast late-night inanity.
These shows’ success relies on low production values and their low-rent hosts’ ability to pad. The secret? Constantly exhorting viewers to call and then stretching each puzzle over several ad breaks so they don’t have to give too much money away.

We’ve long had local content rules, but it’s high time we enforced quality content rules on free-to-air TV. Television licences are precious and anyone devoting their schedules to con viewers into making expensive phone calls should have them revoked.
Public television isn’t much of an alternative. SBS has an assortment
of foreign-language news and late-night soft-porn and the ABC broadcasts the one late-night show that’s even duller than the quizzes, Order in the House.

The only people to benefit from the quizification of late night TV are the networks, who are cashing in, and insomniacs. Going to sleep never looked so good. I’d even rather watch Yasmin.
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