11.10.07

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda --- Didn't.

Journal Entry - Toronto.
Sunday night. January 13th /1980.

A busy week ahead. The show is under-budget and we've been asked to come up with scenarios to spend money before the end of the fiscal year - March 31st. There's talk of taking Harron on location. Road shows are expensive so by hitting the road we can UP our regional programming hours plus burn off cash. No talk of bonuses however. Not a chance. I tried to get a petty cash re-payment this week for some lunches I bought for guests and WHAT A HASSLE. It was only about 30 bucks but I had to get the receipt signed by THREE different people then I was forced to stand outside the petty cash office for about half an hour while the little Pakistani guy called everyone to make sure their signatures were legit. Must be my face.

Our road shows will be -: Moncton, Winnipeg and Calgary. Looks like I'll get to produce the Calgary show. I wonder if I can figure out a way to get mum on it ?

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Journal Entry - Winnipeg.
Friday morning. October 12th / 2007.

I love my life. Because I get to watch a lot of TV and ask truly important questions, such as --:

WHERE THE HELL IS PHIL ??

Tuned in Wednesday night to the CBC looking for my favourite Amazing Race host to check out his new show - NO OPPORTUNITY WASTED - only to find Phil was ... Missing in Action.

Perhaps he took a wrong turn at that last Challenge Detour or maybe he's shacked up with the dwarf chick somewhere. But wherever Phil is - he wasn't on my TV.

Remember all those CBC promos ?? All summer Phil was on the tube YELLING at us to -- "Come on Canada...No more coulda...woulda...shoulda" ??

After months of hyping the crap out of "PHIL KEOGHAN's -- NO OPPORTUNITY WASTED" the series kicked off this week with NO PHIL.

The show was hosted by a perfectly competent nobody - Bruce Kirkby. A goretex-wearing, sea kaying, up-at-6am-for-a-run, kind of guy.

Slick. Very slick. The old bait-and-switch
routine, eh ? Damn those Yankees.

Bruce was pretty good. And somebody should hire him to do a real show. Not this one. "No Opportunity Wasted" - is exactly what it sets out NOT to be ... an opportunity wasted.

Don't get me wrong the show is Hollywood.

Jump-cut editing. Survivor-style fast-motion shots. In-situ action clips. And plenty of familiar tension-track music.

It had a producer-created feeding frenzy of sharks; a producer-created I-miss-my-dead-dad crying scene; a producer-created moment of "shock" (you're coming with us RIGHT NOW); and a producer-created moment of "terror" (Oh God, I can't do this...I CAN'T).

He did it anyway. The producer made him.

Not to sound like a know-it-all. But in this case I do.

Here's why 'No Opportunity Wasted' is going to fail.

The show is only half an hour long.

Which actually means about 22 minutes of air time. The commercial clusters are used as structural turning points so formula shows like this are really only three or four mini story blocks.

And the crucial block is the final one -- the climax. The payoff. The resolution. It's the emotional jolt the audience feels HERE that brings them back next week.

Last night's CLIMAX was about as exciting as the time I ... I ... I ... (insert tasteless Family Guy gag here).

The show is conceptually flawed. 22 minutes simply is not enough TIME to develop the characters, define the challenge, witness the drama, and find a satisfying resolution. That's a lot of stuff. And the speed with which these story beats MUST unfold simply to make the show finish on TIME, reduces any chance of the audience really caring whether the guy gets eaten by the shark or not.

All the other "Can-They-Do-It ?" reality shows run for an hour.

"No Opportunity Wasted" runs 22 minutes. Too much - too fast - too bad.

...and next week's promo was hardly a grabber -- watch people overcome their fear of public speaking by being forced to sing in front of strangers.

oookkkkaaaay.

"No Opportunity Wasted" is one of those ideas that probably sounded pretty good at the pitch session but should have been given the Texas goodnight kiss.

The lesson here ? This is why God made PILOTS. To see if the concept works.

By attaching a mini-celebs name like Phil's to the pitch I bet the producer's got away without piloting it.

And that my friends ... was not just an Opportunity Wasted -- but our money too.

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