Friday, 29 July 2016

Entertain Us: You’ve got to be kitten

RESTAURANT Revolution was a flop with audiences, so Channel 7 replaced the program’s Tuesday timeslot with — if you can believe it — Youtube videos of cats. Journalist Nick Perry sat through as much of one episode as he could.

CATS are the unquestioned stars of the internet age.

But if I want to watch cats doing funny things, I will go on Youtube just like everybody else.

Yes, I have come across quite a few cat videos in my time — there are so many they become almost unavoidable on the internet — yet never have I thought the videos would be improved with commentary.

Somebody did, and they turned it into a show called Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud. The title is indicative of just how little effort has been put into the entire program. Aside from the commentary, which takes the show from unnecessary to unwatchable, it is nothing but cat videos from Youtube.

Who is the target demographic? Anyone who has ever used Youtube will surely not watch this show. The less internet savvy among us may be unaware of the funny cat phenomenon which has been spreading across the world wide web for years. They may find the videos a novel alternative to Funniest Home Videos, but surely not for long.

None of this would matter, because even the silliest cat could recognise there are other worthless shows on television.

Except Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud is now prime time viewing, according to Channel 7. The channel might as well just use that timeslot to display a message in bold writing: “We’ve got nothing. Just illegally download something decent and watch that.”

The cat program was elevated to prime time to replace Restaurant Revolution, a major ratings flop. Contrary to popular belief, Aussies are not sick of cooking shows. They still rate their backburners off. Some people are sick of them, sure. People like me never watched them to start with. But the good ones still rate.

And that makes it worse when a cooking show fails to draw an audience. The advertisers want to spend their money when the cooking shows are on, and if Channel 7’s program can’t draw a crowd, there are plenty of other options on competing stations.

I doubt those advertisers are going to be happy appearing in between video after video of funny cats.

Perhaps 7 could consider bringing in an overseas program about cooking cats and hedge its bets. That’s if anyone is still bothering to check what’s on that channel.

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