Thursday, May 12, 2016

Nurse the Hate: A Bold TV News Idea





I have many ideas on how to make television news more exciting.  In theory, I could make this happen.  After all, I do work in a television station.  The undeniable fact is that no one that has the power to green light my ideas will even entertain an audience with me.  It often fills me with despair.  I feel my talents are being overlooked.  These corporate overlords of mine do not believe that I have anything to offer in attracting an audience.  I am being underestimated.  I feel confident that history will show this to be a tragic mistake.  I have ideas.  Big ideas.

To give you an idea of the potential growth area in television news, on any given day a top local TV station will have about 3% of the key consumer population watching a newscast with most other stations having 1% give or take.  I believe this is because these newscasts are predictable and offer a routine of polite people reading teleprompters giving information about murders, fires, and government issues until providing the information that the viewers really want, the weather.  We have seen all this before.  There’s nothing new.  It’s not “appointment television” to use an industry term.    

What if a TV station were to substitute their weather anchor for “Bongo The Weather Chimp”?  The station would air the exact same graphics package of cartoon sunshine or clouds while a chimp hopped up and down screaming while dressed in a suit.  The anchors would be required to treat Bongo just like a fellow employee to keep the flow of the broadcast and maintain Bongo’s credibility as a weathercaster.  “…and authorities have no leads in this horrible crime.  Now let’s take a look at your weekend weather.  Bongo?  What’s the weekend look like for us on the North Coast?”  Scree!  Scree!  Scree!  (Agitated chimpanzee dressed in a suit jumps up and down wildly in front of weather map while graphics scroll details below)

This immediately positions the station as “the ones with the chimp”, a strong differentiation in a marketplace filled with the same old, same old.  A strong outdoor campaign with billboards and bus cards featuring the smiling chimp face and station logo with a direct consumer message of “Bongo and Channel 4…Weather You Can Trust” will drive viewership.  The sales staff could monetize appearances with the chimp at local car dealerships and high school football games.  This is what we call a “win/win” for the station.

Granted, there are some logistical issues to work through.  A station employee will have to get this chimpanzee on set each day for the newscast while avoiding having their face ripped off by the angry animal.  I’m sure a cramped monkey cage has an awful stench.  That will have to be accounted for as well.  I will also need to research if it is possible to keep a chimp on a tranquilizer long term or if it would be detrimental to the chimp’s health.  Certainly it would be bad press if the chimp died while in the care of the station.  All hell would definitely break loose if the chimp’s body was dumped in Lake Erie and then washed ashore on a local beach to be discovered by school children.  Meanwhile if the station was actively trying to pass off a new chimp as Bongo, it would be a public relations nightmare.  These are scenarios that will need to be worked through in a corporate think tank setting.   

I mentioned this concept to some colleagues in the news department yesterday.  I was met with, what I would call, “firm disapproval” on this bold initiative.  This was probably just because I was threatening the status quo or maybe because many of the female news producers didn’t have the stomach for the possibility of disposing of a chimp body discreetly.  It’s hard to say at this point as I am just speculating.  I think they would grow to respect the chimp as a fellow employee, assuming the chimp did not attack them when released from his pen.   

In the end, I firmly believe the risk is worth the reward.  No guts, no glory.  That sort of thing.  It’s time to make a bold new move in television news.  I’m the man to lead the way.  A new era is coming and I am ready.  I have ideas.  Big ideas.

3 Comments:

At May 12, 2016 at 12:07:00 PM EDT , Blogger Ken Miller said...

As the 21st Century media marketplace becomes increasingly competitive and fragmented, it is forward-thinking programming concepts like these that can keep local television news positioned as the prime content provider in the news landscape.

 
At May 12, 2016 at 10:15:00 PM EDT , Blogger Bobdontgiveaf#ck said...

Couldn't the chimp be tethered in some way? Say......a type of bungee cord perhaps securely anchored to the floor of the weather set with the other end manacled to one of his terrifying thumbed feet which would allow an entertaining level of movement yet still provide a clean shot with a powerful tranquilizer gun should the need arise? Humane. Safe. Secure. That's what I'm talking about.

 
At May 13, 2016 at 7:06:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

This is the type of forward thinking sorely needed in broadcast my friend.

 

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