Tuesday, November 08, 2011

On Australian TV and Why Australians Look to the US/UK

This is a kind of repost of something I posted in a forum but thought would be interesting to put out there:

I watch a fair amount of Australian TV but just not what the ratings seem to say every week. Currently it's mostly ABC programmes like Gruen, Hamster Wheel, Q&A, Four Corners, Media Watch & At The Movies. With occasional shows on SBS like Wilfred or recently Housos. I TiVo these and watch in my own time and when I do watch a show on the commercial networks the FF button is there for me.

I find the commercial networks play mostly realitrash, faux-current affairs, light-weight newstainment, soaps of the AU/US/UK variety and recycled & re-imagined (if you can call it that) shows made for Australian audiences. Goes for the pay channels as well when they are made to make Australian content.

Is it any wonder that the sheep they want us to be viewing wise wander from the herd?

The scripted show situation can be described much like the late night talk shows situation. The US has so much more talent to tap into and shows like The Daily Show/Colbert, Letterman, Real Time With Bill Maher etc. can be produced on a regular basis and can concurrently continue because there is so much audience in US FTA and subscribers on US 'cable'. Are we ever going to get that much choice with Australian late night talk shows? Probably not, because there isn't the audience when prime time slots are all that matter. Plus the US has all the celebrities & guests living in the country of production. Not to mention a huge pool of stand up/comedy writers to tap into.

Something that heaps of the American and even UK shows have is a big draw actor or ensemble cast. Unlike 'Lisa McCune' syndrome here.

And once you get hooked on shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Walking Dead and so many more, how can you go back to 'Australia's Next Top Junior Loser Geeks Have Talent While Undercover Factor' when you were never even watching to begin with.

I'm all for supporting Australian content but there are so many reasons to stray overseas for our entertainment needs.

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