As I've said before, I generally keep pretty quiet about TV matters, because of the whole glass houses thing, but it’s hard not to be just a teensy bit cynical about a story I saw on TV3 news last night, so I feel justified in throwing it open for discussion.
The story was introduced thus:
The makers of a new TV game show are defending it in the face of allegations it is sexist and old-fashioned.
The complaints have been flying since last night’s episode of ‘Deal or No Deal’ on TV3…
As Tony Field reports, what upset them were low-cut dresses worn by models on the show.
We then have a 90 second report about TV3's "Hot New Game Show" (their words) ‘Deal or No Deal’ focusing almost entirely on – you guessed it – models wearing low-cut dresses.
TV shows get complaints all the time. One of the perks of my first job at TVNZ was being able to read the phone logs – the ones made fabulously famous by Havoc & Newsboy (and of course not forgetting Mr "Hello TVNZ" himself, TVNZ's long-standing telephonist Don.)
The call logs make for great reading and are a real peek into the psyche of Joe and Jane Complainant. “I don’t like Judy Bailey’s hair tonight”, or “Don’t you know the weather presenter’s arse is blocking the Chatham Islands?” and other items of great import. Compliments too, but needless to say, most people only call to offer brickbats rather than bouquets.
But as a general rule, such complaints do not make news. When is it ever in the broadcaster’s interest to run a news story about how a given programme has been getting complaints?
Answer: When the complaints relate to gratuitious cleavage.
If the broadcaster were being a leedle more honest, the news story would have gone like this:
Did ya see all the tits on that new game show of ours last night?! Did ya? No? Well here’s a taste of what you’ll get if you tune in next week. Pretty choice eh!
In case you missed it. That’s Deal or No Deal, Wednesday, 8.30 on 3. Tony Field, 3 News.
(For those with a real passion for news and current affairs, also listed on the TV3 video homepage, under the “Best of 3” headline: Extended Footage of the Boobs on Bikes Parade and Kiwi Naturists Passionate about being Nude in Public)
***Update***Regan at Throng has it on good authority that TV3 only received 7 complaints about the offensive boobies...