Wednesday, November 01, 2006

[Insert stone-throwing joke here]

Well, it's what they've always said and now we know it's true: the ABC is above giving a rat's about ratings. Even though this is in direct contradiction to their stealthy moves towards running ads.

For, if they cared about ratings, they would not have axed The Glass House:

The stars of The Glass House have had no contact with the ABC, which axed the comedy show despite it gaining some of the best ratings of its five-year run.

Prime Minister John Howard said he didn't pressure the ABC to shelve the show - which has been accused of anti-government bias - and the ABC denied the decision had anything to do with new editorial guidelines due to come into effect next year and the appointment of a new chief censor to monitor instances of bias.
(From here.)

Yeah, sure it didn't. And there will be a record harvest this year; Jess Mauboy can sing in tune; I am slender and gorgeous; there is no cat hair on the sofa; and the sun rises in the west.


TimT said...

JH had nothing to do with it. The ABC board has been stacked for years, but the Glass House has stayed. I'd say it simply reflects a realisation on the part of ABC staff that the show had long since ceased to be funny, and was now formulaic pap that provided employment for Anderson and a few of his fellow comedians.

Zarquon said...

And the one million or so viewers.

comicstriphero said...

JH had nothing to do with it

Sometimes, I like to play a game called "2 degrees of separation".

Firstly, JH approves ABC board appointess.

Secondly, the ABC board directly influences programming decisions.

I win! I win!

Pavlov's Cat said...

Thank you, CSH. I was restraining myself in the hope that someone worthy of the opportunity would step in and do the honours, and my hopes have been realised. Elegantly done.

redcap said...

All of that aside, I really hate The Glass House. The last time I watched it, I wanted that half hour of my life back. Wil Anderson stopped being amusing about the time he started wearing rubber thongs and nail polish all the time; Corinne Grant's "pause-turn-to-the-side-and-raise-eyebrows" technique of letting the audience know when to laugh gives me pain; and I would be a happy woman if Dave Hughes were to take that whiny Melbourne accent of his and move to Bolivia. Sorry, PC, but I just don't see The Glass House as much of a loss.

TimT said...

I said:

JH had nothing to do with it. The ABC board has been stacked for years, but the Glass House has stayed.

CSH ignored the second sentence. He said:

Firstly, JH approves ABC board appointess.

Secondly, the ABC board directly influences programming decisions.

I win! I win!

Um, no. You don't win. You simply ignore the counter argument which I provided.

elsewhere said...

Well, you have to be glad that the Musk-rat has gone, at least.

Anonymous said...

Save the Glass House

Sign the online petition and do you bit for good humour and freedom of speech !

Pass it On

The Committee to Save the Glass House

Pavlov's Cat said...

TimT: CSH is a she. I know that for many, the default position in any given situation is Boy, but it's quite easy to check.

Generally: NB I didn't say I liked the show, and I didn't say Howard 'had anything to do with it', at least not directly. (Ratty is far too cunning to be direct.) I said

(a) that the ABC clearly didn't care about ratings, except of course when good ratings are not outweighed by anti-government sentiment; and

(b) that the new editorial guidelines and censor, as set up by the stacked board, were probably a reason for its demise.

These are all separate issues from the question of whether it is a good show.

TimT, here is my direct address to your counter-argument: you seem to be arguing that because it has taken them a while to get around to it, that must prove the stacked board isn't censoring. Have another look at the actual quotation and what it actually says; it's quite a subtle point about the new rules and the new censor. The stacked board has been stacked by increments and is now implementing censorship by increments.

Now: can you explain to me (this is a real question) why it's such a popular activity among young conservative men to spend an incredible amount of time on progressive people's blogs taking issue with their posts and arguing the point with them for the sake of it? What do you all get out of it? Wouldn't you get a bigger audience at LP, or more applause at Catallaxy or somewhere?

El? which one is the Musk-Rat?

TimT said...

I don't think of myself as conservative or progressive, I just comment where I feel moved to say something either in support or in debate. Is that so unusual? I don't see why a little critical discussion should be so wrong for a progressive blog. Surely a little argument, a little incisive analysis, a little look behind the political rhetoric employed by 'conservatives' and 'progressives', would only be good for the health of debate?

Strange things happen in the television industry. For instance, why was Good News Week axed when it was? Was that an example of political censorship? In the case of The Glass House, it may be a long time before we know why it was axed, as I imagine the producers and the comedians will keep quiet about the whole thing. It was never really about laying into John Howard and the conservatives, and I think they've probably got other things to worry about than 'censorship by stealth'.

The show had been running for quite some time, essentially in the same format for several years. One of the things that can kill comedy and entertainment is lack of variety, so the old format of 'The Glasshouse' may have been the prime motivating factor in its closure.

Pavlov's Cat said...

' don't see why a little critical discussion should be so wrong for a progressive blog.'

No, neither do I. I was commenting on something that seems to me to be a trend.

But I do get a bit impatient when challenged on something I didn't actually say, and that seems to be a bit of a trend as well.

Perry Middlemiss said...

John Faine, on ABC radio here in Melbourne yesterday, asked one of the ABC TV's programming honchos (sorry, didn't catch the name) why "The Glass House" had been axed. The answer: it hadn't been axed it had been decommissioned. Oh, well, that's all right then.

Funny how this has come just after the ABC's new policy of "balanced" coverage. Clarke and Dawe will be on the chopping block next.

Mary Bennet said...

I'm saddened by the "decommissioning" because even though it was clearly very formulaic (which became obvious when Corinne substituted for Wil earlier this year) and fairly puerile at time, I always got at least one huge belly laugh out of it each week. Now I'm solely dependent on Adam Hills.

Wonder if there'll be a new series of "The Chaser" next year. It was strange how the final episode of the most recent series didn't chase ANY politicians around at all.

Thanks Anonymous for the petition link.

Anonymous said...

From Kim Dalton's apologia in today's Age:

Programs such as The Glass House or The Chaser's War on Everything would be defined as performance programs, and the editorial requirements for such content have not been changed in these new policies.

Anonymous said...

I interviewed someone at the ABC recently and one of my questions (prompted by the scepticism of an industry-insider friend) was why The Chaser’s (then) Friday night timeslot was so mobile. My friend thought of it as a deliberate, sabotaging ploy by programmers to throw audiences off the scent, and thus undermine the success of the sometimes controversial programme.

So, I asked the ‘Head of …’ who, sort of robotically, explained the reasoning behind it. The ABC purchases their Friday night crime series fare from UK commercial broadcasters, once the ads are edited out the ultimate running time is variable and unpredictable. When The Glass House had the Friday night ‘after crime’ slot, they would insert filler programmes, however, this caused audiences to switch channels. When they experimentally ran The Glass House directly after, the audience stayed too. The Chaser simply inherited the Glass House Friday night timeslot.

This all sounded completely reasonable to me, until I hung up the phone and thought about it for five seconds.

The ‘Head of …’ was a completely wonderful, heart-in-the-right-place, type-person who hadn’t thought to question the base assumption, ie., that there was no other option for The Chaser other than that precarious Friday night slot.

And if she had thought to question it, what could she have done about it anyway?

(Sorry to be anonymous = gutless)

Miss Tickle said...

I gave up watching the Glass House when I could predict all the punchlines. I always got a few laughs out of it but started to feel uncomfortable with the blantant scripting of it all.

Here's hoping they can all move on to use their natural talent for something better.

Fly free, little funny people!

Dean said...

Don't see what the big loss is really. It wasn't funny last year, although it might have been the year before that.

tigtog said...

explained the reasoning behind it. The ABC purchases their Friday night crime series fare from UK commercial broadcasters, once the ads are edited out the ultimate running time is variable and unpredictable.

Now that is utter tosh. She might have believed it, anon, but there's more than one basic assumption she hasn't questioned in that load.

Britain has very strict regulation of TV ads - only so many breaks per hour, only so many minutes per break. (I miss that so much) There is no unpredictable variation in the length of these programs except for whether they were designed to fill an hour slot or an hour-and-a-half slot in the UK - the first will run for approx 50 minutes (might be 48), the second will run for close to 1h15mins. And the ABC doesn't have to "edit out the ads" - the shows are supplied with 'breaks' where various broadcasters can insert ads as they wish.

As TV series in the UK tend to be commissioned in 3, 6 or 12-episode chunks, it's really quite easy to set up the programming to be much more consistent than it is, if anyone at the ABC actually cared to. Anyway as you say, why limit the Chaser to Friday night when their core demographic is out on the grog? (oh, right)

Kate said...

I was as over the Glass House as anyone, but the whole thing stinks of politics to me. It doesn't take Ratty ringing up his mates on the board to make a decision. It needn't have been a conscious thing for anyone: no plot, no conspiracy, just people doing what they thought was 'best', and it's still political, and stinky.

genevieve said...

Ditto, El, who is the Musk-Rat? Mr Hughes?

I have been saying to my kids for months that I think the trio are going through the motions - but I will miss them all the same, and it was telling to see Wil get a bit vicious in the last two weeks, before the announcement. I wonder if he knew that disgracefully crawly interview with Doolin' Dalton was going into Thursday's Green Guide, so blew the whistle.
Perhaps they were axed because they have not been aggressive enough - the Chaser is more in the tradition of an Elle McFeast, anarchic type of show, the Glass House's Movers and Shakers was always gorgeous fun, but the rest of the show didn't give them enough room to move really. It was too short! and now it's gone! and awwwwhhhh. Bring back GNW...make Jean Kitson a newsreader...