Snake-oil television to anyone who’ll listen
If you believe TV execs, telly has never looked better than in 2009. And they might sell you some snake oil and miracle elixirs while you're listening too.
Everybody’s never been happier. Everybody’s making more Australian content than ever. Everybody’s got some snake oil to sell.
That’s if you believe the network executives.
“We’ve got Australian drama more spot-on than we have for a long time,” Seven’s head of programming Tim Worner told the Daily Telegraph.
“Television drama and comedy are possibly the healthiest we have seen in the last 10 years and looking forward it will just get better.”
Nine’s David Gyngell is just as buoyant.
“We are making more shows than we ever have,” he said. “Financially, we have got ourselves into a better position than we were. It gives the schedule a bit more variety.”
Financially PBL Media has found bridge funding to service its enormous debt. That might give Nine room to breathe, but it’s hardly an ideal position. While it is certainly producing dramas with Underbelly 2, Sea Patrol and Rescue Squad (or Rescue as it has also been referrred to), plus lots of lifestyle and factual, it also knocked back The Young Doctors which it promised for 2008 and laid off a slew of production staff at GTV9. It plans to re-hire them on a project-only basis. Somehow these points are overlooked in the spin of ’09.
Meanwhile Seven’s drama slate is indeed booming with four hit local dramas: City Homicide, Packed to the Rafters, All Saints and the perennial Home and Away.
But if Tim Worner thinks comedy is on the rise then he must have heard a different joke.
2008 was the unfunniest year for comedy in ages. There was no Kath & Kim, The Chaser, Summer Heights High or Thank God You’re Here. While it’s true Seven has since snaffled the latter from TEN, what has it decided on the unfunny Out of the Question? And is This is Your Laugh due to resume production? What precisely is the immediate future for new Kath & Kim?
Perhaps Seven thinks its factual slate is worth chuckling over. God knows it dominates our early evening viewing week in, week out. Seven daren’t go near scripted comedy, or even sketch comedy, anymore, preferring the cheaper failsafe observationals. Based on its 2009 production slate, the ABC has a lot more to keep us laughing than Seven. In 2009 there’s more Gruen Transfer, John Safran, Lawrence Leung, Chaser, Sam Simmons, more new projects from Denton and another season of The Librarians.
So successful are the factuals for Seven, that TEN is ramping up its slate on the genre too -at least when it isn’t busy with reality shows. Thanks, Seven…
Nine will bombard us with lifestyle shows to warm the cockles of our hearts, peppered with local versions of tawdry hits like Wipeout and Ladette to Lady.
Roll up, roll up. Just six more weeks before the biggest show on Earth.
Source: Daily Telegraph