The Work Of Shaun Jacques

Format Questions

  1. What are the ingredients of a quiz format? Compare and contrast 2 quizzes and explore with examples and critical opinion. For this question I shall compare and contrast two popular quiz shows that run on weekdays at roughly the same time on opposing terrestrial channels, these quiz shows are ‘Pointless’ and ‘Deal Or No Deal’ First for anybody unaware of these shows is an explanation of them. ‘Pointless’ “Pointless is a game show shown on BBC Two, hosted by Alexander Armstrong… The object of the game is to score as few points as possible by giving correct answers that the public have not given. The contestants try to look for answers which score no points, which are known as “Pointless” answers.” Essentially this format runs like the vastly popular ‘Family Fortunes’ (or ‘Family Feud’ if you are American) in reverse, so the contestants are rewarded for their obscure knowledge instead of working out the most popular answers. The game is played over 45 minutes on BBC2 usually starting around 4.30pm. sometimes it is in direct competition with Noel Edmounds fronted ‘Deal Or No Deal’.’Deal Or No Deal’

    Deal or no deal is a show usually contested on channel 4 in the UK on weekdays and Saturdays between ten past 4 and 5pm the show is also shown at various times on Sundays and is also repeated on More4 and the +1 channels. The game’s USP is the fact that the show really only contains one real question ‘Deal Or No Deal’ with everything else coming down to chance of the contestants just picking random boxes.

    Now to compare these two. There is no denying the success of Deal Or No Deal, the show has numerous remakes around the world and the U.K version of the show getting an average viewing figure of over 2million viewers today (http://www.barb.co.uk/report/weeklyTopProgrammesOverview?) but why is it so popular? The show has been criticised for being ‘dumbed down’ television and no one can really say that it makes viewers think too hard, but that’s probably the point, it’s a game that anybody can play along with (safe in the knowledge it’s not there money they’re playing for) it’s also entertaining because the audience is allowed to learn a lot about the contestants that appear on the show and can support them or hope for their failure whilst playing along with the show.

    Pointless isn’t doing too badly for itself either, the show started in 2009 and is currently getting about 2.19mil viewers average (http://www.barb.co.uk/report/weeklyTopProgrammesOverview?) the show currently has only been branded for British audiences in stark contrast to the internationalisation of Deal or no deal. What differs between this and DOND is that this show does rely on contestants to have knowledge (even if it’s jokingly referred in the game as pointless) but like deal it creates an opportunity for the audience to play along at home. Like Deal or no deal we get to learn a bit about the contestants but certainly not in as great detail. Both shows try to add humour to the show, an both shows do this with the hosts Alex’s sidekick in pointless makes for some entertaining banter with Alex and the contestants while Noel is often raising laughs with contestants and with insults to the anonymous banker. As mentioned both shows are on at the same time and I feel because of this neither wants to ‘provoke’ the audience or make them think ‘too hard’ as many viewers will just be home from a long day working.

  2. Write a programme proposal and running order for your TV and Radio formats. Explain the format behind your format – what makes is playable again and again? Why would audience like this? Where would your format play? For both ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ and ‘prize and prejudice’ we had to think about how the formats could be used over and over again. For Ignorance Is Bliss we wanted to get an antagonist host that the audience would rally against this person would be a proxy for the listeners authority figure in life eg; their boss. This is why we would aim to play it during the drivetime slot in the afternoon as many people would probably want a new target for their vented frustration. I feel the rounds we had also added in audience participation, well at least rounds 1 and 3. Round 2 played off the Deal Or No Deal idea of getting the audience to know the contestants, but also served as an opportunity to build up our host. This show would be playable again and again as people would hopefully tune in each episode to catch somebody get one up on the host. The format would hopefully play on an FM station like Radio 1 during the drivetime slot. For Prize and Prejudice we wanted a friendlier host, we also wanted to get the audience involved in the show by placing control in their hands ‘a’la X factor, they would choose contestants based on their own prejudices so to speak. What makes it playable again and again is the level of interactivity and the option of debate (why did people vote for him, etc…) The format I envisioned playing on Saturday night ITV schedules.
  3. Business –Consider the ways in which production companies use formats to make money. How would your format make you money? Our formats would ideally make money in two different ways. Ignorance would make money based on advertisers revenue from the show and the lack of a mjor budget in running the show in the first place, whereas Prize would earn it from advertising aswell but there is opportunity to market the interactive aspects to sell to new investors and sponsorship, there would also be oppurtunites to market interactive DVD games for example.
  4. Modern Broadcasting. Think about how the main broadcasters are using the web and how audiences are interacting with programmes. How has the phenomenon of interactive TV changed broadcasting and what do you think the (near) future for broadcasting on the web is? How would your format work on the web? Not only do I believe that prize would work on the web, the whole show has been worked out with that purpose in mind, this show would have been improbable 10 years ago and impossible 20 years ago, now however due to the Facebook and twitter generations social interaction during TV shows is easier than ever and this show aimed to capitalize on it. Ignorance is slightly different but I still believe it could work online, there is the opportunity to give it a web home just like deal or no deal does.
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