Radiation by Fiona Rae

Small television epiphany

Good to see Steve Maharey giving more or less an assurance that he won’t be fiddling with NZ On Air in this week’s Listener. I did a similar story a while back about the row that was brewing between the independent television producers and TVNZ over intellectual property and distribution rights. Now that Marty Behrens, the abrasive American who ran TVNZ’s business development section, has gone, the issue seems to have died in a ditch, which is a good job.

The independents I talked to were also worried about TVNZ wanting all of the money. Think about it: do you really want TVNZ as the gatekeeper of all the funding? To have control over everything that gets made? Several comments were made to me along the lines of “TVNZ wants to be the only player in town” and worries were expressed that the state broadcaster could play favourites.

Over at TV3, Caterina De Nave said categorically that they wouldn’t make any local programming without NZ On Air funding. Tony Holden, TVNZ’s Head of Commissioning, who I interviewed, had a crack at TV3, asking whether it was right that the profits from publicly-funded programmes shown on TV3 (from advertising) went offshore to Canada. I guess he wasn’t accounting for the fact that the funding also went to independent producers in New Zealand and a lot of people got jobs making The Strip or whatever.

Anyways, this is an interesting one, because there’s also a review going on at present of all public broadcasting funding, although we have to wait until the end of the year for its findings.

I’d like to thank Danielle for providing me with a television epiphany. Well. A small one, anyway. She writes in her excellent little blog (those pink Chuckies are bitchin’ btw) that her prerequisites for truly enjoying any reality television is “profound hatred for all the show’s ‘cast members’.”

I hate Donald Trump! I hate his hair! I hate his flunkies! I hate the weaselly little fuckers, both male and female, who uncritically yearn to sell their souls to the corporate juggernaut! And they’re all so lame! So deeply, deeply lame! Ahhhhhh, it's all so stupid, and directing my scorn to the screen fills me with such glorious warmth. See? If you're basically a horrible person, like me, reality shows are your lifeblood. :)

And that’s when I realised that’s not what I watch TV for. I don’t want to be enraged, there’s plenty of stupid fucking mayhem in Iraq to feel just as bad about crap on TV. I think I’m looking for small truths. Anyway, I know I watch television for The Sopranos (can’t wait for Steve Buscemi) and probably State of Play, although I’ll let you know as I’ve taped it.

The Letterman list is: Mike Myers on Friday 28th (Shrek 2’s been huge) and Blink 182 (eww); Bob Woodward on Monday 31st; Chris Rock on Tuesday 1st; and … well, the rest is quite boring actually.

Actually, I rented Love Actually on the weekend for a bit of light relief, although two and a half hours is more than enough light relief in anyone’s language. They could have shortened it by getting rid of that whole Liam Neeson and his son storyline – I mean, really, what 11-year-old talks like that? And in what universe do the niece and nephew of the Prime Minister go to the same school as the tea lady from Wandsworth’s family? I suppose the same universe where Notting Hill is really neat and tidy. The script seemed to have popped out of the Richard Curtis random joke generator as well. What a senseless waste of seven bucks.

24 is officially rocking now – the last six weeks of the season got the big ‘not too shabby’ from Entertainment Weekly. 24’s exec producer did admit to having “lost the thread” around the middle. Apparently Kiefer Sutherland said around the 12th episode he couldn’t do the heroin storyline much longer – have you noticed he’s not sweating so much lately? Television Without Pity’s recaps are worth it for the nicknames alone – Chase is known as “Special Agent Charlie Brown”.