Britain's Game Show
Bombshell - March 20
Now the British know how we felt after Charles Van Doren
admitted he got the answers from the producers of
"Twenty-One" in the 1950's.
A scandal is threatening the validity of call-in
interactive programming in Britain. In a March 8, 2007
article in Media Life Magazine, Heidi Dawley detailed
how allegations that winners were either pre-selected or
even faked. Shows like "You Say, We Pay", "Ant and Decs
Saturday Night Takeaway", "BBCs Saturday Kitchen"
"X-Factor" (Simon Cowells show in the UK) and even
Endemol UKs "Brainteaser" have been tarnished in
someway by either overcharging or not telling the
viewers a show was not live and to vote on the outcome.
Even the BBCs Blue Peter, a long running kids show
admitted this week that a winner was faked in a November
27, 2006 incident involving a money raising effort for
children in Malawi. The Times of London reported on
March 15, 2007 that the regulator Ictsis and the channel
are reeling from the allegations.
So what does that mean for shows here and abroad. Let me
take the UK first. To me, it seems that every winner in
any show that has an interactive element from X Factor,
Fame Academy, Big Brother UK, and yesPop Idol is now
tainted. Do we really truly know what the vote counts
were in these programs, or who even truly won? The
programs could have thrown out vote results to have the
person they want to win do so. Am I saying its true? I
dont know, but after these scandals, you have to
question the validity of the presented results. And you
have to wonder how Britons will actually believe that a
winner isnt truly a winner...from the smallest
interactive quiz to the biggest reality
shows...everything now stinks.
But I think the interactive market here is safefor the
most part anyway. The UK regulators would be smart and
proactive if they did what most, if not all of the
interactive games of US shows do...use the internet as a
free way of entering. GSN, NBC, CBS, and other have a
way to enter these contests without having to pay
hundreds of dollars via texting (See Gordon Peppers
State of Play from December 1, 2006 for the idiocy of
just using your text).
However, and this is where I think the British voting
scandal may have an effect, I think more shows will have
to show vote totals. I believe that the voting
percentages were only shown twice in American Idol
history. There is a certain segment of the population
who believes that most interactive reality programmed is
skewed in favor of a contestant one way or the other. We
hear it every year with Idol. If you show the vote
totals, things will appear more on the up and up.
The British have to act quickly. If they dont, their TV
interactive market, which made $200,000,000 in 2005
including quiz shows, will lose a lot of their money and
more importantly the public trust...it took the US at
least 10 years before that was regained after Van Doren.
How long do the Britons have to wait?
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