Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Villainy and engagement

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Oddly as cutting, and yes nasty, as Mr Cowell could be, he mostly stayed focused on talent and whether he believed, based on his experience, the artist could succeed and make Cowell some more money.

    Bad judge is bad.

    I think it might come down to this: they weren’t up to the job.

    I feel like I’ve been a bit negative about the show in the original post. I watched much of the first season, and contributed to TV3’s engagement metrics.

    And I think Mel Blatt is an absolutely A-grade panelist for this kind of format. She’s stylish and credible. Stan’s charm serves him well too.

    But in series one, Ali Campbell was unenthralling as a judge [Edit: D'oh! Wrong show!] .

    So they went for a couple of mid-twentysomething pop singers with the KillMoons and it really didn’t work out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    All I'm interested in at this point is the apology. There hasn't yet been one, has there?

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Just a tiny reminder that characterising everyone who watches reality TV or talent shows or what-have-you as proles or idiots is rather off-putting.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But in series one, Ali Campbell was unenthralling as a judge. It turned out he had drinking and heath issues and wasn't that happy

    Ali Campbell was on NZ's Got Talent, it was Daniel Beddingfield who filled in the X-Factor role. He seemed to want to use the role to revitalise his decade-stagnant career. Another example of them gambling on a one-hit wonder.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Crikey. The Dan News YouTube video embedded in the post above just passed 800,000 views. It will get close to a million in its first day online.

    The video made it to the front page of reddit and was the top link on r/videos for a while today.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Kinda with Craig on this. Whether any of it’s planned or not, it’s all a massive set piece.

    I find it quite hard to believe, in this case. I think something quite unusual just happened.

    There are already conspiracy theories that the whole thing is a set-up, but they ignore the massive level of risk in even trying to pull such a stunt. Were the major sponsors who went ballistic this morning kept out of the loop

    I don’t believe that it was a set-up, but I’ve perfectly comfortable thinking nobody should really be surprised when shows largely predicated on ritualized humiliation eventually implode.

    And I totally agree with folks who’ve pointed out that even if you think Simon Cowell is a Philip Treacy arse-hat, he does have actual RL success to back up the attitude. (And hell, I understand even Cowell doesn't go Full Metal Jerk-Off like he used to. I don't know whether fatherhood is agreeing with him, or if he's actually smart enough to realise "nasty prick" is a brand you can only take so far before the risk of something going horribly wrong on a live broadcast gets too high.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    It's alright Danielle, we know you're neither a prole nor an idiot, so you're allowed to watch reality TV/talent shows (particularly if it means I don't have to...). I once had a weakness for the various "Next Top Model"s, though not for some years now. And I used to like the home renovation shows, before the ratio of interior design to useless "challenges" and product placement tipped too far. And when I think about it... I watched the first, NZ, Popstars. And probably the first Australian and UK versions too. But never Survivor, nor American Idol/Country X has Talent/The X-factor, nor Big Brother. So maybe it's a case of "pick your reality poison"?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Seriatim,

    oooh, there's a few snobs 'ere, innit? Strongly recommend you go online (since you aint even got a telly, of course) and watch contestant Beau Monga on demand. I love the chaos of these stupid shows for the diamonds they sometimes unearth, and he's one, alright.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Ethan Tucker, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I presume many other people have suggested this, but it doesn't strike me as very likely that the first simile someone born in 1989 would reach for is a 1960 Hitchcock reference. But then thankfully I know nothing about the chap, other than the UK music mag review that said his album was derivative.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Is part of the deal with these shows that not only are the competitors required to be walk-up rubes with no agent, but the judges are required to have no professional representation as well?

    Because either this is the case, or those two had a crap agent, or they’ll be collecting a big wodge of money from TV3 for breach of non-disparagement clauses, or they always were expecting to get paid their full fee for doing half the programmes.

    Be much better if we were able to OIA TV stations that spend public money and get full visibility of their machinations.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Seriatim, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Hey - no Project Runway??

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the KillMoons

    too soon?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ethan Tucker,

    I presume many other people have suggested this, but it doesn’t strike me as very likely that the first simile someone born in 1989 would reach for is a 1960 Hitchcock reference.

    Mixed up with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so not very coherent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    Ali Campbell was on NZ’s Got Talent, it was Daniel Beddingfield who filled in the X-Factor role.

    D'oh!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I once had a weakness for the various “Next Top Model"s, though not for some years now.

    Fiona really likes Project Runway, which is very much in the genre, but uses contestants who have already made some career headway.

    And I used to like the home renovation shows, before the ratio of interior design to useless “challenges” and product placement tipped too far.

    Changing Rooms was quite fun -- it began and ended every week. The bizarre scenario where The Block ran four sponsors-product-packed nights a week just seems an ordeal.

    And when I think about it… I watched the first, NZ, Popstars.

    We invented the genre!

    But never Survivor, nor American Idol/Country X has Talent/The X-factor, nor Big Brother. So maybe it’s a case of “pick your reality poison”?

    We never had as many of the cruelty-based formats as other countries. I was told that it got too hard to get people to agree to go on Celebrity Treasure Island and it faded. And Survivors et al just seem to be full of the kind of people I strive to avoid in real life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The only judge I had ever heard of before they appeared as judges was Rachel Hunter. But I think she's on the other show. Pity because she always had a kind word for everyone, and wore some nice frocks.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    ProjRun and Top Chef are both pretty consistently great. All the contestants are either really creative or completely wackadoo (the best are both), and the judges generally walk the fine line between entertainingly snotty and reasonably constructive (I do lament the departure of Michael Kors, though. His dated-but-pointed metaphors were a delight). Also: frocks! Food! What's not to love about frocks and food?

    Then there's what I consider the second tier of scripted reality TV, which is stuff like The Amazing Race. It's very well made, and you CAN watch it to learn Things About the World, but mainly you learn how crappily taxi drivers are treated around the globe while American couples in disintegrating romantic relationships yell at them impotently. (This is obviously rewarding in a whole other way.)

    Then there's stuff I consider Unmitigated Trainwreck TV, which can be pretty delightful if you can maintain the sort of detached amusement for which Generation X was famous. My favourites in this genre were things like The Anna Nicole Show (may she rest in peace) and the slew of VH1 fake-love-finding series like Rock of Love and Flavor of Love. Many of these - the endless Bachelors and Bachelorettes, for example - don't need to be watched from beginning to end. In fact, Joel McHale from The Soup summarises the best moments from these every week.

    (I too used to be dedicated to America's Next Top Model because I loved what a completely unselfaware megalomaniac Tyra is. But even that can wear thin after a decade or so.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Conspiracy theory over at the Throng. Calling Dr Ransome!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2933 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to nzlemming,

    The Mirror has jumped on it.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Drinnan notes how this fits with Mediaworks' overall punt on reality telly, led by Julie Christie.

    A reliance on reality TV has been evident since Christie joined the MediaWorks board in June last year as it emerged from receivership. Last month - in a an unorthodox decision - she was named manager of digital strategy for television and video.

    Chief executive Mark Weldon, who started in August, is new to TV and has come to rely on Christie's expertise.

    His main job is to find ways to sell the company and take it off the hands of banks and investors who lost money through the receivership.

    The reality TV strategy and Henry show are a big part of that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The bizarre scenario where The Block ran four sponsors-product-packed nights a week just seems an ordeal.

    I threatened subcribing to Sky sport, when that invaded the living room, but luckily the bluff wasn’t needed. We agreed on Grand designs.

    I’m not a sports on TV kind of guy. I watch Ancient Impossible.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes, Julie Christie can be held culpable for much of this, from tortuous formats to renovation shows as extended advertising breaks. Now, as a pal of National, she is getting a bunch of money to help decide whether we need a new flag.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2558 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Danielle,

    ProjRun and Top Chef are both pretty consistently great. All the contestants are either really creative or completely wackadoo (the best are both), and the judges generally walk the fine line between entertainingly snotty and reasonably constructive (I do lament the departure of Michael Kors, though. His dated-but-pointed metaphors were a delight). Also: frocks! Food! What’s not to love about frocks and food?

    Though even there, I recall one season Kors was quietly but firmly told that if he could ixnay further references to “tranny hookers” in his critiques that would be splendid. Still even when Project Runway is at it’s most hot messy, there’s always Tim Gunn finding an unflappably polite way to suggest that an application of napalm might help things along.

    As for food shows -- could someone stick a fork in Hell's Kitchen? I actually like the Gordon Ramsay who is smart, articulate and thoughtful about food. The ranting, sweary bully? Not so much.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We never had as many of the cruelty-based formats as other countries. I was told that it got too hard to get people to agree to go on Celebrity Treasure Island and it faded. And Survivors et al just seem to be full of the kind of people I strive to avoid in real life.

    I still have a soft spot for American Cannibal, even if it was faked and a made for a cheesy documentary movie.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    ZOMG, I totally forgot Project Runway, which, yes, definitely watched (don't think it's been on here for a while?). And also "What Not to Wear", and the first couple of seasons of NZ Masterchef, and the Great British Bakeoff.

    In the property/renovation space, my current poisons are "Location, Location, Location", "My Dream Home" with "the Property Brothers", and Sarah Beany's "Double your house for half the money", and any episode of Grand Designs which I haven't already seen twice.

    The point of listing all these is twofold. First, when I add it all up, I'm astonished to find just how much of reality TV I have watched, considering how sniffy I am about it as a super-genre; and second because, looking for common themes for longevity, it's not just the content, but also so importantly the hosts which make the difference. I couldn't watch "What Not to Wear" after they replaced Trinny and Susannah, and I would refuse to watch Project Runway on principle if they ever lost Tim Gunn. Grand Designs is made by Kevin McLeod, as proven by the dullness of the Australian version - though the latter also suffers from not having figured out that a Grand Design is not just "some house built with a bottomless budget". And there's Phil & Kirsty (LLL), and Mary Berry and Sue Perkins (GBB).

    So my question, for people who like the Idol/Talent/X Factor format, is whether the judges provide that same extra something as the hosts of those other shows do for me; i.e. they make it watchable or not? Because if so, that would underline the necessity of MediaWorks dumping two judges who were potentially going to make people disengage?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

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