Cracker by Damian Christie


Bare Breasts Key for Important 18-49 Auckland Demographic

There’s been a lot of talk in media circles in the past few weeks about the return of Campbell Live to the small screen after its summer hiatus. The story I’ve heard from various people at TV3 is that last week the network’s new boss, Ian Audsley, rocked into the Campbell Live office and told its executive producer to lift ratings or the show is gone. Four months was a deadline I’ve heard.

This could all be bullshit of course, the media industry is a great one for gossip, although you’d hardly need a crystal ball or a PhD in Media Studies to see the writing on the wall for Campbell Live, and its even-worse performing morning counterpart, Sunrise. On the other hand, Campbell Live’s ratings haven’t been flash since the get-go, and it’s lasted five years. A network dropping rather than expanding news and current affairs empire isn’t a good look, but with new owners, priorities can change.

Meanwhile, staff at TV3’s summer show @7, which managed okay ratings during the hiatus, are quietly hoping they will be back on air in four months time, when Campbell Live gets the axe. I don’t see it happening; it’d probably be far easier and cheaper to put on re-runs of the Simpsons, which performed perfectly well before Campbell Live came along. But you never know, Australian bosses can make interesting choices.

Whether it was the Ocker boss (I once had a boss from across the ditch who criticised a story on fashion week for not having enough “norks”) or a producer desperate to keep their job, it didn’t take long for Campbell Live to get the message that ratings were all-important. To wit, this
full-frontal gem on its season debut last night
. It’s odd that I should probably add "NSFW", when it aired at 7pm on free-to-air TV.

Personally, I hope Campbell Live survives, but not if it’s going to go all tits and arse – if I want porn, have no fear, I know where to get it. I want Campbell Live to keep going because I think competition is something we often lack in New Zealand.

But competition is supposed to be healthy, it’s supposed to result in everyone being stronger, faster, fitter, better, not turning its host into the new Benny Hill. Unfortunately in media, competition often results in a scramble for the lowest common denominator. And while Boobs at the Beach is the most gratuitous example I’ve seen at 7pm, I’m certainly not saying Campbell Live is alone – this decision from the BSA last year wasn’t exactly glowing about its competition.

All I’d say is, John, if you can’t beat ‘em, please don’t join ‘em.

So of course I ended up going to the Big Day Out. I know I’d said I wasn’t going because the line-up hadn’t excited me at all, but as a bunch of friends pointed out, the lack of a must-see band or three doesn’t stop you hanging out with your mates, getting pissed in the sun and laughing at/with the crowds. And the fact I had no work on that day, nothing better to do and a free ticket, well.

As predicted (and expounded on by far greater musical minds than mine on this very blog), there was nothing to get too excited about musically – I enjoyed a couple of bands, and left at a civilised hour, but had a thoroughly good day. Hanging out with mates. Getting pissed in the sun. And laughing at/with the crowds. I think this would’ve had to have been one of the best organised BDOs in a while too: Better stage layout, no major bottlenecks, and fast moving booze lines.

Anyway, that was then. Last weekend, on a somewhat dodgy day weather-wise I went to Music in Parks at Coyle Park in Pt Chev. My first time in said park, and the first time in a while since I’ve seen SJD and Dimmer live. I really enjoyed both, although perhaps agree with some people’s comments that Dimmer’s angsty strains was a bit incongruous to a sunny outdoor daytime picnic-type event.

I’ll probably give the next couple M.I.P's a miss (the Warratahs are great I’m sure, but not high on my agenda) but I’ll see you in Kingsland for the Datsuns on Feb 27, and also the 20th anniversary of the 95bFM Summer Series, whenever that is, in Albert Park. Long may the good weather continue.

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