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Can Weblogs Get Their Own BBC TV Show?

One of a series of Can Weblogs...? experiments from 2002-2004.

Wouldn't it be nice?

To have a news-based show (focusing on the weblog community and their interests) commissioned by the BBC.

How You Can Help
You can help to make this happen by giving your feedback regarding the proposed formats, emailing the Genre Managers involved, and linking to this page.

Why the BBC?
I've chosen the BBC as the target for our pitch for a number of reasons: - Firstly, they seem more than prepared to waste licence-payers money on all sorts of junk, so commissioning one show that their audience actually requests doesn't seem like much of an ask.
- Secondly, their network covers enough of the world for most webloggers to be able to view the resulting show. Which would be nice.
- Thirdly, they openly state that BBC2 shows in particular need 'bold new formats' and that 'irony, wit and surprising faces are key'. That sounds like us, now, doesn't it?
- Finally, they're reasonably local - so when it comes to the all-important issue of facetime, I won't have to jump on a plane to get to their office. ;o)

Why a News-Based Programme?
A large chunk of what we as bloggers link to (and probably the only thing of genuine interest to the public at large) involves quirky news stories. It's a fair bet that your local paper compiles the best of these as a puff piece at least once a week. The idea of this being presented in a television format isn't entirely new, but it certainly hasn't been done properly for a long time. Focusing on news also provides us with the alternative possibility of having a show commissioned by a 24-hour news channel, most of which also have similar global coverage to the BBC.

What's the Plan?
Plan? We need a plan? Oh boy, now you're asking.
OK, here's how I see the activities in order of their execution: - Get attention/publicity/support for the project (ongoing)
- Choose a format
- Develop and finalise that format according to blogger feedback
- Source a production company with a solid news or entertainment pedigree
- Audition/source the necessary talent
- Make our pitch, or, if necessary, a pilot
- Sign on the dotted line

Proposed Format 1

'and finally...'

A 10 minute daily wrap-up of off-beat and web-centric news stories, read deadpan in a traditional news studio and 'talking head' format. Unlike shows such as 'Have I Got News For You' - that take a humorous look at serious news - 'and finally...' would take a serious approach to silly news. The stories covered would be chosen according to their online popularity. Elements for the superimposed images to accompany each news story would be sourced from a stock library, then created/altered to suit each story by an online community of Photoshoppers.

If such a show were broadcast on Monday the 15th of April, the headline stories would have been:
X-10 cameras have gaping security hole
Patient having op on backside breaks wind, causing fire
Plygrd txt bullies
Tree lover falls to death from tree
Researchers find 3,600-mile ant supercolony

Proposed Format 2

Weblog Weekly

A weekly news/entertainment show focusing on much the same as above, but filmed in front of a live studio audience. The decreased production frequency would allow us to hunt down video footage addressing the best stories of the week via the BBC's existing source network, and also present an item or two addressing online/weblog culture. Such items would include the results of a weekly 'News Photo Of The Week' Photoshopping competition, and a 'your say'-style segment whereby we conduct a live phone interview with the Blogger Of The Week based on who we/you think has presented the most interesting viewpoint/meme/thingie recently.

Be honest. Wouldn't you liked to have seen some footage of the bloke who was busted having sex with a goat by a trainload of passengers? Wouldn't an interview with Neil Schwartzman and/or Bernard Shifman be a jolly, jolly thing?

Now What?
OK, so you've read the outline and checked out both formats. Here's what you can do to make things happen:

Choose Your Favourite Format:
Format 1 'and finally'
Format 2 'Weblog Weekly'

Send Your Feedback
Have any thoughts or ideas regarding either or both formats? Send 'em in!

Email the General Factual Genre Managers at the BBC
You can drop a line to Nicky Colton and Helena Appio by clicking here. Be nice.

Link To This Page
One of the most powerful things you can do as a weblogger is link to another site. Doing so by either or both methods below not only lets your audience know about our little experiment, but also provides us with one hell of a fun challenge.

This first link is your standard 'go and look at this' plug. How and where you do this is completely up to you, but you can cut and paste the following to make it easier if you like:

This second link is the important one, and should go somewhere on your front page, but outside of your regular blog content (i.e. - so it won't disappear into your archives after a day or so). The reason for this link and its semi-permanent placement should be obvious to anyone who's engaged in the fine art of Googlebombing. The more people who employ this link, the more likely it is that we'll create a significant search anomaly for the query 'BBC'. Given that close to a quarter of a million sites link to the main URL for the BBC, it's unlikely that we'll crack the top spot - but we should at least be able to get into the top 5, which I'm hoping will be enough to generate this level of interest at least.

All Done?
Good. Now you can go back about your business. You might want to keep an eye on what happens though, so please do drop by again soon to see how we're doing.

Back to 'Can Weblogs...?' for further results and updates.

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