10 March 2007

Who actually PLAYS TV quiz shows?

Interesting story that's been rumbling for a few days now about TV quiz shows. The initial story, in fact, was about phone-ins on shows like X Factor and Big Brother; the ones where they charge you £1, or whatever, for phoning in to vote one idiot off the show (or keep one idiot on) in preference to the others. There have been a number of scams and rip-offs, documented by this BBC Q&A:

  • ITV admitted overcharging X Factor voters by £200,000, although given that its total revenue from premium phone lines in 2006 was £100m, that's fairly small beer.
  • the BBC asked viewers to phone into a "live" broadcast of Saturday Kitchen despite the fact it is a recorded show.
  • Most sinister of all, for my money, was five's admission that it has been inventing fictional winners for its Brainteaser show.
The five scam in particular is reminiscent of the National Lottery in George Orwell's 1984 where all the big winners are fictitious. Similarities between current and near future UK life and Orwell's nightmare vision have been pointed out before on giroscope, and this will continue to be a fruitful line of enquiry. For one thing, it may be no coincidence that Orwell's real surname was Blair. George understood all too well the capacity of the overbearing state, operating in concert with private industry, to reduce a huge proportion of the population to being passive recipients of whatever craptainment the system chooses to chuck at us. And when you can't even win the prize for the awful cheapo game show that you've been inflicting on your eyeballs for the last hour, redialling to the engaged tone 237 times before your credit card payment is finally accepted, perhaps it's time for even the most brain dead of us to say... enough is enough.

I have yet to meet anyone who actually plays TV quiz shows... go on, someone, surprise me.

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