So, it turns out I may be slightly addicted to television...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

You win some, you lose...The One

Pouf! And just like that, George was done and The One disappeared - relegated to the likes of cancelled shows everywhere. After only 2 weeks, ABC has posted on its website that "There are no plans for additional episodes. Thanks to all who participated in and supported The One."

I mean, I'm not the first to say it - The One sucked. The song choices were, well, let's just say watching some girl run around screaming into the mike actually made me swtich channels until it was over. The contestants had zero personality, the judges were weird with even less personality, and George acted like a wooden stick figure (also screaming into a mike). But that was not CBC's fault - their intentions were good.

But the CBC has come under some fire after pre-empting The National (nightly newscast) for an American reality show with critics hitting out that the CBC, a taxpayer subsidized network, had no business importing this kind of show (which only drew an audience of 160,000 viewers last week compared to over 1 million for Canadian Idol).

I suppose it's easy enough to be a critic. The poor and weary CBC comes under a lot of fire, but I can see their reasoning. First, the show was hosted by one of their own and they wanted to bring attention to the fact that George Stroumboulopoulos (checked the spelling today) will be hosting The Hour which moves to the CBC from Newsworld in the fall. Second, the CBC tends to lack viewers in the 18-34 category and they probably thought a show like this would do the trick. And finally, they probably just wanted to show CTV they weren't a loser and wouldn't always be the last kid picked for the team.

Unfortunately, they were wrong.

However, I don't think the critics are all that right either.

The truth is, the CBC is between a rock and a hard place right now. Funding is threatened, in fact Stephen Harper's government may try and shut it down altogether, and ratings are low. If your funding is cut, all you have left are the advertisers to pay for your shows and advertisers don't respond well to low ratings. And if nobody under 35 is watching, where is your future audience? I think it must be scary to be the CBC right now. All they did is what many of us do in real life - they took what they thought was the easy way out. Simulcast an American reality show in a popular genre with a popular host and then laugh all the way to the bank while the advertising money poured in. But just like in real life, the "easy way out" was disastrous.

It's time the CBC picked itself up by the bootstraps and became what it could be. I am a die hard supporter of public broadcasting - I think CBC is integral to our identity as Canadians.

And I routinely choose other networks that offer better television.

I'm not alone.

The only time I tune in to CBC is for The National, This Hour Has 22 Minutes and, if I remember, Rick Mercer's Monday Report (or Tuesday or whatever night they've decided to put it on now).

It doesn't have to be that way. Canadian television's past is filled with fantastic shows: North of 60, Road to Avonlea, the original Degrassi, amongst others. We have the talent - it's just time for the CBC to put it to use.

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