Thursday, 24 November 2005

Making Television Great Again. Here's how.

You know, when BrokenTV isn't sitting at home downing shots of Kwik Save rum in order to stave off the cold because the bloke hasn't turned up to fix the sodding boiler again (don't get us started), or cursing ITV4 for it's habit of starting Larry Sanders before the listed timeslot (hey, not that we're compiling an illicit DVD box-set of it or anything) it has ideas.

Depending on who you listen to, the first episode of the new series of Little Britain was watched by between eight and eleven million people. Despite that, pretty much everyone BrokenTV has spoken to about the programme has done little more than express their dismay at how laugh-free the whole experience was. And yet we're betting that the majority of disappointed viewers tuned in the following week, just to see if it was going to get any better (instead of, say, slightly modifying the feed-lines that led to each catchphrase). And as each disappointed viewer still counts as one in the ratings, lots of 'creative' BBC people pat each other on the back and begin to look up the phone number for Leigh Francis' agent. Clearly, this is a VERY BAD THING.

You could excuse ITV for letting one of their comedy shows get away with endemic laziness because a lot of people are watchi... oh, right. But the BBC are meant to be quality-led, and not at the behest of advertisers (and you won't find BrokenTV doing any Mail-esque Beeb-bashing, as we genuinely believe it's one of the few things the UK still has to be proud of). If only there were some way you could let them know what you think, without having to pester Points Of View.

Well, when we're in charge of television, this is what you'll see:

Not just repeats of Fantasy Football (although we do think it'd do well for Bravo or Men & Motors), but a digital telly opt-in psuedo AmIHotOrNot ranking system. You're given the option to sign up for the scheme, giving the rankings people your standard demographic data (a godsend for evil marketing types, who'd happily underwrite the whole project just to get their filthy mitts on your watching habits, and convert your life into a series of numbers), and Super Special New Software is uploaded to your digibox. From there, near the end of any programme, you can press the yellow button, and mark it out of ten. Just move the cursor using your remote arrow keys (from a default of five), hit select, and you've marked a programme out of ten.

Once a week, your digibox calls an freephone number uploading the data, where it can be jumped on marketing people ("Larry Sanders is very popular with the ABC1 people, not so well with the plebs. Cancel the Cillit Bang adverts, get BMW's agency on the phone!" They'd love it!). Meanwhile, you get to champion your favourite shows. And, possibly, supposedly public service broadcasters might not spend so much time promoting shows that nobody actually enjoys very much.

If the rankings people think you're especially useful to them, there could even be a 'hidden' digital channel (in much the same way that RTE is picked up by all Sky digiboxes, but only viewable by those in the Republic of Ireland), transmitting not-for-public-consumption pilots. Useful participants in the ranking scheme are given access to the channel, and hey presto! A free, instant focus group. It might even lead to better television, as what gets shown wouldn't just be decided by a group of executives in suits. No more Spoons!

We really hope that when someone steals this idea (and we're saying it's one of the best ideas ever to happen about television ever), blog postings count as evidence, and we can sue.

Which demographic does BrokenTV belong to, you may ask? EISDDKWR1 (or Embittered Idiots That Spend All Day Drinking Kwik Save Rum, if you must).


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