Category Archives: Television

TV Posts May 2009 – Feb 2014 on Throng

See all my TV related posts from May 2009 to Feb 2014 on Throng – click here to see my Throng blog or here to visit the site.

Go 99 Preview Update

In yet another example of just how hopeless the Channel 9 programming department when it comes to keeping viewers informed, as of this morning (Thursday April 30), there is no information in the yahoo TV guide online as to any of the planned 9HD day time break away next week. According to the advanced guide for 9HD posted on TV Tonight, extra 9HD beak away day time programming starts from this Sunday May 3.

It is not uncommon for the 9HD channel program guide not to be up to date in yahoo (perhaps this is because yahoo is tied up with channel 7), but you’d think channel 9 might go to a little extra effort to ensure there was adequate advertising and programming information out there in relation to this new programming. Otherwise, noone will know about it and day time viewers will most likely stumble upon the alternative shows when they try to watch Ellen and the View in HD only to see a movie on instead.

A quick check of the TV Guide that 9 MSN links to reveals the same – no alternative 9HD programming during the day. The only place I can find (admitedly I have not looked everywhere, but yahoo and ninemsn are two very high trffic locations so I would have assumed they keep there information up to date) this information in relation to 9HD is in TV Tonights’ advanced guides section – where you can see free to air TV guides as far as two weeks ahead. Usually, there is little point to look that far ahead into what channel 9 plan to show due to frequent programming changes, but this new 9HD programming is a big deal and a big step in the lead up to the new Go 99 channel later this year.

I might add, that I have not seen advertising for the programming either – not on the ninemsn web site or channel 9 itself. Maybe they are keeping it low key for now while they make sure there are no bugs, but surely, for the sake of their advertisers, they would want to attract viewers? Unless the ads will be free or endless 9 self promos (which would make the channel close to unbearable to watch).

At least there will be a day time alternative to talk, soapies, cooking and kids shows for now. If only they started the break away at 9am to provide an alternative to the morning shows. We don’t really need Kerry Ann and the mindless infomercials and content in HD – do we? 9am – 11 am are the worst 2 hours on commercial free to air TV, other than 2-4am of course. Before we had Foxtel, we would not even turn the TV on at our house until 11am for the news.

ONE HD on SC10

Southern Cross Tens’ (SC10) scenery HD channel is now displaying a message bar stating: “We are excited to announce that the 24 hours sports service ONE HD will be broadcast on this channel in coming months”. No indication of a date.

Coming months puts the launch of ONE HD on SC10 in line with what we hope to be a July start. Hopefully soon they will be able to tell us the date, and then to promote accordingly so that regional viewers can finally join their capital city counterparts in having the option to view the 24 hour sports channel.

At least there will be a free to air option in the early morning hours that is not informercials or movies older than your grand mother.

Hot Seat Update

I have written enough about this show, so I do not see the need to write another 500 words about it now!

My wife and I watch Hot Seat for the questions only. As we have IQ2, we record it rather than watching live. We were fast forwarding through the obligatory chat with each contestant, and the painful questioning of what the contestant will be locking in.

Now, we leave the whole show on fast forward, giving us about 3 seconds to answer each question – a similar time you get on faster paced quiz shows. We speed up the fast forward during the ads. The show now takes about 5 minutes to watch, and fits perfectly into the first ad break of Jeopardy, finishing in time for questions to resume after their 3 minutes of speaking to contestants.

Pretty sad when you can condense a full 33 minute show into 5 minutes (yes, it always starts at 5.27 – don’t know why the EPG can’t reflect that).

And on the subject of Hot Seat, what is th epoint of putting iton at 11.30pm as well? What a waste, especially since that the printed TV guides will not reflect these changes. And those who watch Ellen late night will be very annoyed.

Go 99 Preview

It seems that channel 9 is experimenting or possibly testing what they may be doing with their new channel Go 99 set to launch in August.

From next Sunday, there will be many more hours of break away 9HD programming during the day. The break away programming starts at 11am and concludes at 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. There will also be break away hours on Sunday, as well as the usual small offering after 10.30pm Monday to Wednesday. on Thursday nights, the HD channel is used to broadcast the opposite football show to the one shown on the main channel (in Sydney, NRL is on the main channel, AFL on 9HD for example).

Programs include: 11am Just Shoot Me, 11.30 Seinfeld. 12pm Movies. 2pm previous nights’ 7.30 prime time show or similar, 3pm Bewitched, 3.30 I Dream of Jeannie double – till 4.30.

Unfortunately, though, this means that you will not, for the short term, be able to see Ellen, The View and ET in HD. I do believe, though, that if a show is available in HD, it should be shown on the HD channel in HD. I can understand why they might be testing the ground using 9HD, but hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. Hopefully. GO 99 will be the home of all these entertainment shows, and 9HD will be left to simulcast 9’s shows that are in HD. Only when a show on 9 main is not in HD should they ever consider breaking away – which, once Go 99 is up, an HD break away would mean three ch 9’s.

With channel 9’s very poor programming reptuation in recent times, the launch of Go 99 could be their saviour giving the network the chance to air many shows that they don’t feel comfortable to air simply because they are not instant million plus ratings hits. Let’s hope they don’t treat programming on Go 99 the same way they do on their main channel.

Let’s also hope, that the launch of Go 99 will be carried in regional markets as well. So far, NBN has not offered any of 9HD’s break away programming. I some areas, WIN has.

Lie to Me, Channel 7

A commenter on this blog has led me to another TV forum website http://www.throng.com.au/, where, I found an article written at the time of the launch of 7HD back in October 2007 quoting David Leckie (owner of ch 7) stating that there would be 3 channel 7’s within 15 months. 15 months after October 2007 was Jan 2009 – which is when the networks were allowed by license to offer a 2nd SD channel.

Here’s an exerpt of that article:

“We are the first to move into new channels,” Mr Leckie said. “Our introduction of a nightly two hour channel and different programmes across weekend daytime complementing our primary Seven channel is the first step towards a second Channel Seven before Christmas and a third Channel Seven in the coming fifteen months.”

And it goes further promising first run movies on three nights per week and states that 7 have alot of content to fill these channels. You can read the full article here.

Well, that was then, this is now. Almost May 2009, ch 7 is the only channel not to have announced plans (officially) for its 2nd SD channel. There are rumours floating around that it will be on by October this year. As of next week, with 9 offering more 9HD break away programming from next week (which looks like a lead up or a test for Go 99) during the day from 11am – 4.30pm, 7 will actually now be the channel that offers the least amount of break away or alternative programming, a place previously held by ch 9. Ch 7 used to offer over 7 hours a day of 7HD break away, now it is about 5 hours.

We Love Our Free TV

As part of the new FreeView campaign, the phrase “we love our free TV” is used. There isn’t much to love about free TV these days, especially where channel 9 is concerned but it never used to be this way. With 9 offereing more 20-1 than ever, I thought I’d make my own 20-1 list based on what we used to love about our free TV – mind you, 20 years ago, Free TV was the only option other than hiring movies on VHS video. Considering free TV is no longer the only option, I would have thought they would have improved as opposed to declined.

20. Adults Only was known as AO – a rating, not part of the title. 

19. Overnight you could watch news, music or old movies – no infomercials

18. Kids TV in the afternoon, sometimes till 5.30

17. There were no subscription mobile ads (and of course, no mobile phones, well at least not one smaller than a house brick)

16. Cartoons in the morning

15. Programs to watch between 9am and 11am other than talk morning shows

14. No trashy shows ever. Swearing was for the most part not allowed either (we all remember Kerry Packer ordering the Doug Mulray video show off back in the 90’s)

13. Stereo simulcasts on Fm radio for major movies like Star Wars (and I in fact connected extra speakers to my radio to make my own surround sound in 1986)

12. Timeslot changes and axings were rare and hardly ever happened the way it does now. Shows almost always remained on for their full season.

11. Reliable printed TV guides

10. The nightly current affairs shows once featured quality stories.

9. More Australian shows were on TV

8. Unmissable TV shows like Prisoner

7. Channel 9 news was the only news worth watching

6. Game shows were entertaining and watchable

5. Eddy McGuire was at home watching TV and noone knew who he was

4. 60 Minutes had hard hitting, quality stories

3. If a show was advertised as starting at 8.30, at worst, it would start at 8.31. Never 8.37 or later.

2. The first to TV Sunday night movie

1. Channel 9 always winning the ratings and known as “still the one”

And more: lets not forget those Demtel ads with the catch phrase “but wait … there’s more… ” and K-Tel selling vinyl record holders, and even records including Kamahl. And you might even get a set of free steak knives. There was still summer TV though.  But back then, way before email, mobile phones, SMS, my space, facebook and twitter, you would actually spend time with people and less time in front of the TV, your phone or computer.

FreeView in my View 4

So here comes the next round of Free View ads which will supposedly remind us of what we love about free to air TV. The same day we hear about channel 9’s new Tuesday night line up containing nothing but 2.5 Men, 20-1 and Underbelly, most of which are repeats. These Free view ads are a waste of time and no doubt take air space away from real advertisers selling real products.

Freeview are so delusional, that they call 7HD and 9HD separate channels. 9HD hardly has any break away programming and for the most part is the same as the main channel – so should not count, and 7HD is almost as bad but at least has more break away times.

And now the comment relating to more channels launching says within a year. We know channel 9 have announced their new channel, Ten is already doing ONE, SBS News has become SBS2, ABC has been given the go ahead for ABC3 (I knew thewy would) but channel 7 is still yet to announce anything.

Currently, I put the channel count at 8 – ABC, ABC2, Ten, One, 7, 9, SBS, SBS2. In regional area of northern NSW, it is 7 channels as there is no ONE yet. It will hopefully be on SC10 by July, about the same time it is rumoured Foxtel will get it for those who do not have cable. Go 99 and ABC3 will take it to 10 channels, and 7’s new channel when they announce it will be the 11th. And that will most likely be it, as I don’t see any of them then using the HD channel as a break away from the other 2 channels.

Inappropriate Advertising

The other night I flicked past channel 7 after midnight, landing on a show about French castles reminding me a bit of Antiques roadshow, or at least appealing to that sort of audience. A minute later, when the show went to its first ad break, all of the 3 minutes of ads were nothing more than R rated subscription mobile phone services. While these ads are common place on TV after midnight, and are almost expected in shows like Beauty and the Geek, they seem very out of place on a show about French Castles seemingly aimed to a much older audience.

The kind of audience that these mobile phone subscription ads are aimed for would not be watching that show, and the kind of people who are watching the show would be greatly offended by the ads and may switch off. Sure, these ads are allowed to be on TV after midnight but surely someone in advertising at ch 7 should have been thinking “is this the right show to put these ads in?”

On the subject of subscription mobile phone services, I am firmly of the belief that they should be banned or there be strict regulation to the way they are advertised. Why should you have join a subscription just to receive that nude picture you saw on TV, or to have a ring tone of your favourite song or annoying noise or to pretend your phone works as an X-ray machine? The ads give one the impression that you SMS the number just to get the one item advertised. But no. You SMS the number, you pay up to $24 a week, you pay for each of the 20 or more sms’s they send you per month, etc. No wonder teen agers are in debt.

While I am sure there are people interested in mobile phone subscriptions, they should be advertised clearly as such with expenses spelt out clearly as opposed to looking like an ad for one item.

Hot Seat Runs Cold 2

After watching the 2nd episode of the show last night, I was disgusted that a contestant who had sat there and contributed nothing to the whole show except for answering one question at the end could walk away with $50,000 yet the guy who answered the most questions, and had the sense to pass to the next contestant, ended up with nothing.

If the makers of the show had put some thought into it, they would have realised that this sort of thing would happen and that it really does not make for good television. Game shows traditionally will rate well when viewers see a contestant having a go and being rewarded for their knowledge or performance. Episodes of Temptation, and going back further in time, Sale of the Century, would get their best ratings when the champ was going for the lot – that is, all the prizes.

This format of Millionaire with the idea of passing to the next contestant has no incentive built into it for any of the contestants to work with the team to keep the highest prize alive. As we saw on Mondays’ episode, contestants will guess rather than passing which lowers the final prize for the final contestant.

In my opinion, they should have stuck with traditional Millionaire format. Three lifelines, 2 safe levels, and one contestant in the hotseat decided by fastest finger first. And make it fast like in the US.

But, if you are going to do a show where you have multiple contestants that can come into the hot seat when one passes, why not make there be an incentive for all the contestants to answer correctly? All they would have to do is make it so the share of cash at the end was shared between all of the contestants who had either answered a question correctly or passed to the next one. Only those who answered incorrectly would not be part of the final prize. This would eliminate the possibility of one person, who had been doing nothing through the whole show, walk away with $50,000 for answering one question. While the guy who answered the most questions. did nothing. There’s just no incentive there and its not good television.

The only risk with including contestants who passed was you may have to have a rule built in where they must answer at least one question correctly other than the one that got passed to them, otherwise thay could simply opt just to pass themselves as well and hope to stay in the game.

And my final word on this show: I think I have said enough here and on other blogs about it! If the contestant says the answer is A and to lock it in Eddy, why the hell does Eddy have to go are you sure? final answer? how di you get to that conclusion? This is the most frustrating thing with Eddy doing Millionaire in any format. If the contestant has locked the answer in, that should be it. No doubts, no questions, etc. You don’t see Andrew on Deal, after the contestant has said Deal (or no deal) asking if they are sure, or want to change their mind, etc – he does sometimes, but not to the extent Eddy does on Millionaire or Hot Seat.