March 2006

Arts & Letters

Television programming

By Kerryn Goldsworthy
Channel 7; Channel 9; Channel 10

These days even the most unsophisticated punter knows that when a TV station advises that a regular program will be shown ‘at the special time of X’, what they really mean is that they have re-jigged the schedule in order to feature some one-off TV ‘event’ in prime time, and the regular program will be shoehorned into the nearest available gap.

This occasional disorder becomes the norm over the summer. With no ratings to worry about, the stations change their schedules from week to week. Just when you’ve started to like an off-season program, it disappears off the screen because it’s time for the tennis, or the cricket, or the under-11 hacky sack championships.

Now that the new ratings season has begun and the glamorous housewives, the lost castaways, and the assorted idols, housemates and amateur ballroom dancers are all popping up again one by one, like meerkats, commercial TV has become relatively predictable once more. Seven, Nine and Ten will show their high-rating shows more or less regularly.

What the networks will also do regularly is run these programs anywhere between five and twenty-five minutes over time, so that you will be discouraged from changing channels by the prospect of missing either the end of one show or the beginning of the next. Episodes will be breathlessly touted as ‘all new’, meaning they’re not repeats, and we will be expected to be pleased and grateful.

Do they really assume that we don’t notice the spin? That we don’t mind when episodes are repeated or shown out of sequence? That we believe them when they say the ads aren’t louder than the programs? And if they do assume all that, then do they really think it wise to hold their viewers in quite such shameless and visible contempt?

Cover: March 2006

March 2006

From the front page

Surveillance grates

The government’s response to the Richardson review needs close scrutiny

Image of Stephen Bram’s work, Untitled, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 210 x 390 cm.

Currents of joy: Stephen Bram and John Nixon

Overlapping exhibitions by the two abstract artists convey their shared radical modernism

In light of recent events

Shamelessly derivative summer puzzle!
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Pale blue dot

The myth of the ‘overview effect’, and how it serves space industry entrepreneurs

In This Issue

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.


Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

The joy of sport

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Malcolm Fraser & Galarrwuy Yunupingu

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Highway robbery

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