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to have her last Breakfast?
Irish glamour girl Amanda Byram and her future
did not wake up to good news yesterday morning after
her TV show The Big Breakfast looked like it
was on the way out.
are hoping not to be left with egg on their face as
the once mighty Big Breakfast is facing being consigned
to the vaults of television history.
4 bosses gave The Big Breakfast its final wake up
call - it has been told to either freshen up or face
the chop. Programme chiefs are inviting people to
come up with new ingredients for the menu of the early
morning slot, but also stress it might not necessarily
spell the end of the nine-year-old show if it can
get its act together.
Gardam, C4's director of programmes, told news
wire services "A revitalised Big Breakfast remains
a strong contender to keep the slot." The station
says it is "considering fresh programme ideas
as potential alternatives" to the flagship show
which has already undergone a series of revamps as
presenters have come and gone.
a high of 1.5 million viewers under original presenters
Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin, the show
plummeted to a fifth of that when former swimmer Sharron
Davies took over in an ill-fated partnership with
Rick Adams. Ratings improved again when cheeky
chap Johnny Vaughan and saucy Denise Van
Outen fronted the show, but subsequent combinations
of presenters have failed to revive the interest generated
by their special on-screen chemistry.
replacement, Paul Tonkinson, was ousted just
weeks into the job earlier this year, to be replaced
by former roving reporter Richard Bacon. Gardam
says: "Any new proposal will have to convince
us that it has the distinctiveness and invention to
rival The Big Breakfast's appeal to its core audience."
The Big Breakfast will continue on Channel 4 until
at least the New Year, the station said. It has thrown
down the gauntlet to all TV producers to come up with
an alternative and has given them until July 9 to
submit proposals for a new format. Experts seem to
be able to point out where the ailing breakfast show
has gone wrong in recent months. Martin Frizell,
editor of breakfast channel GMTV, the current success
story of early morning television, says: "I think
The Big Breakfast has slightly lost its way. Some
of its original audience has grown up and moved on
to other breakfast shows but they seem to have failed
to capture the new kids coming through. Most of the
kids appear to be moving towards new media or the
satellite channels first thing in the morning. Because
of all the channels which are now readily available,
the market is very competitive for younger television
viewers at that time of day. At the moment, The Big
Breakfast is not funny and is not entertaining."
Debbie Goode, media studies lecturer, says:
"I think that The Big Breakfast has probably
dumbed down a little too much. Much of the original
balance which was there between news, features and
entertainment no longer exists in the current show.
They seem to be purely concentrating on entertainment
and, to be honest, I feel as though they have started
to insult their audience a little too much."
But what ingredients are required to ensure we all
enjoy the perfect television breakfast which leaves
us feeling ready to face the day ahead? "The
word we use is relevance," says Frizell. "Anybody
involved in television knows that their programme
has to be relevant to the viewers. We listen to our
audience and produce a product which they want to
see. There are four main components for a successful
show - news, weather, making people laugh and telling
them what they can watch on the television when they
get home in the evening. Today for example we have
been looking at the latest developments in the James
Bulger case, foot-and-mouth and the Paddington
report as our main news topics. We always know whether
we have been doing a good programme or not by the
thickness of the log book which is handed over by
the duty officer at the end of each broadcast. As
well as a duty officer we have also become more interactive.
Our audience is now able to tell us what they think
about the show through our own internet site."
says: "We want to watch things which have a sense
of humour in them. The world is too depressing to
be confronted in its full horror at seven in the morning.
People want to see what is happening to celebrities,
hear the news and be kept up-to-date with current
events. There seems to be too much speculation in
the news at the moment. People don't want to hear
a forecast of what might happen they want to be given
the facts. I think some of the latest music and chart
sounds do not go amiss before people are setting out
for work either. But people don't want to be mentally
challenged with quizzes. They want recipes which can
help them come up with suggestions about what to eat
later in the day. It should also have ideas about
how to spend your evening leisure time. A successful
breakfast show can do this whether it is telling us
what is on the television, discussing what's new at
the cinema or what music is about to be released."
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