Have you seen More4 yet? It's the new adult entertainment channel for intelligent 35s and over from the stables of Channel 4.
Gotta say I'm really rather disappointed with it so far. Looking through the schedules there are approx 1 or 2 shows a week I'd want to watch, rather than the 1 or 2 shows per night I was hoping for.
I know they're on a very low budget - 30 million per year - but there's something really uninspiring about More4. It's a real shame. I'm not going to totally write it off though.
They're relying on the stripping and stranding approach to TV very heavily so that you'll make daily appointments at the same time for a certain show or certain kind of show.
7pm - So, tune in at 7pm every day and you get the dreary Grand Designs repeats. Dislike that show - poss cos it's rather visual though.
8pm More4 News - I love Channel 4 News mainly for TV news god Jon Snow. Sarah Smith, the more4 news presenter, doesn't quite cut it for me but then nor do any of the other Channel 4 news presenters. I haven't yet worked out the added value of this show ... especially if you've already watched Channel 4 news between 7 and 8. More discussion and more opinion is what I'd like, more of an intelligent news magazine than a bulletin.
8:30pm The Daily Show - Deep comic analysis of American politics and news? Huh? Who is the audience? I know there is a certain intellectual base in Britain who likes to keep across this kind of stuff but I think it's a very very very niche interested group for 8:30pm. 11pm maybe. The Last Word should be on at 8:30pm, not 11. Even the entertainment based David Letterman show has failed to woo prime time audiences before now on ITV2 and that's far less niche. How about a British Daily Show? Now that would be superb though possibly way too expensive. Britain doesn't seem to be able to achieve those daily late night talk shows or daily evening chat shows very well. Never worked out whether this was a talent issue or a budget issue or what.
9pm DOCUMENTARY, BIG ACQUISITION or BIG EVENT TV - this is where today's documentary goes. Some great stuff like tonight's Spellbound, for instance and last week's A very social secretary (blind portrayals ignored for the time being) and soon Morgan Spurlock's 30 days. Really good timeslot, really looking forward to this stuff and have still got Touching the void on my Sky+ hard disk ready to watch soon. As the channel moves on, week by week we'll see if this slot can be refreshed with new stuff. Currently though, this seems to be the only real changeable slot in the day. The rest of the schedule remains the same daily, propping up the 9pm expensive layout show. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet. It'll be really interesting to watch. But as someone not that interested in the daily stripped shows, 9pm is the zone to watch.
11pm The Last Word - The first week of shows was really disappointing. The way the production has been put together is intelligent and keeps costs down. It could work! Last week it didn't though. It seemed too bitesize and chunky. Bigger bites please! Mark Dolan was deeply uninspiring but I understand there is a different presenter each week so I'll be tuning in this week. This show has to have the right talent on it! It didn't make me laugh and I took from it no great observations. I feel the host and the editor were to blame here. I shouldn't judge this show on week one alone though, it could get better I suspect. At least it refers to the day's news whereas The Daily Show refers to news from the day before because of the US/UK time difference.
later there's The Soprganos. I'm not into this but this is good! And the West Wing is awesome.
What I like about More4 is that if you look at its website it gives you a flavour of what it's about by presenting to you its key stars, its key minds, its core approach. So, in the same way that radio stations like 6Music or virgin have their 'core artists' that reflect the sound of the station, More4 have core programme makers and contributors like Nick Broomfield whose Eileen portrait of a serial killer docs were amazing! Not to mention Heidi Fleiss, Kurt and Courtney, the leader the driver and the driver's wife or whatever it was called.
Blimey - and my neighbour upstairs asked me the other day if I have a television. Err, no I just listen to Radio 2 for comfort?