Tag Archives: ABC

Watch an hour of iCaught for five minutes of YouTube videos

ABC premiered its new show iCaught tonight (hope iCaught Data Management Services doesn’t sue). It’s their YouTube clip show, in a sea of upcoming YouTube clip shows that seek to cheaply license popular clips owned by people who have no idea of their actual worth. The show’s reason for watching it instead of, say, just checking out YouTube’s most popular videos directly? They give “the story behind the videos,” which apparently means having a couple of talking heads say how cool it is and the creators say how they didn’t expect it to become this popular.

And isn’t that worth sitting through all those commercials?

Here’s a roundup of the videos they showed for their premiere:

  1. Battle at Kruger (Wikipedia entry). OMG. Animals get into fight! Film at 11! Don’t we see this stuff all the time on the National Geographic Channel? Oh wait, we do! It’s already been licensed to them.
  2. A bunch of videos about dancing at weddings. Clips from 13 going on 30, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Footloose and So You Think You Can Dance. This is an ABC News story about dancing at weddings, with the same level of silliness. Congratulations ABC, you went a whole 10 minutes before figuring out this show’s concept is stupid and abandoning it in favour of a newsmagazine-style format. The one (non-professional) video that gets more than a couple of seconds is the Wedding Thriller video, which has already been talked about to death.
  3. Venetian Princess … wait, no. She’s just thrown in as a completely unrelated intro to…
  4. The Obama crush video, which was created by an advertising executive, which is about as counter-culture as you can get, right? Sigh.
  5. Lee Paige, the DEA agent who shot himself in the foot while teaching kids about gun safety. Does agreeing to appear on this program mean he’ll be dropping his lawsuit against the government for allowing the tape to be disseminated? (The lawsuit, of course, was not mentioned on the show)
  6. The Merry Miller / Holly Hunter interview disaster. Kudos for ABC for pointing out its own failures, but it still seems fake and silly. No mention of what actually went on (she’s horribly unqualified, but Joel Siegel thought she was hot, I guess), and just some footage of her giggling about how she couldn’t interview someone without a prompter running.
  7. The Women in Art morphing video. No interview with its creator or anything silly like that.
  8. A bunch of uninteresting crime-related/surveillance camera/MySpace video news segments that sound a lot more like World News Tonight than a new primetime TV show.
  9. David Elsewhere at Kollaboration. Shots of his dad. That’s about all I remember.

In case it’s not clear enough how little money they put into this show, it’s hosted by a nobody standing in front of a white screen. It has no sets, and its stories are setup like back-to-back two-minute TV news reports, which just serves to remind us that the networks aren’t spending their budgets reporting on, you know, news.

To recap:

  • The show seems to be about running YouTube videos, but only shows clips from those videos. Not once did it show the entire thing in one sitting.
  • The show claims to tell the stories behind the videos, but there’s plenty of important facts that are left out, as you can see above. A quick check on Wikipedia will, for the most part, find you more information than you’ll find on this show. (The fact that Wikipedia considers many of these videos to have insufficient notability says something.)
  • The show tries to think of itself as cool, with its green-screen usage and “click” sounds matched to the host’s hand jabs, but the interviews are setup old-school, complete with blur filters to make everyone look younger.
  • The show tries to be new and current, but the videos are months or even years old.
  • The show tries to plug its website (well, actually, it plugs ABCNews.com), but the website provides no easy way to, you know, look at the videos featured in the show which you couldn’t actually watch because of all the fuzzy interviews going on.

In other words, it’s a complete and utter joke. Any guesses on how long it’ll keep going?

Just for (American) Laughs (UPDATED)

ABC premiered the American version of Just for Laughs Gags tonight (there it’s just called Just for Laughs).

I’d heard all sort of rumours about this show. It was going to be re-shot with Americans. It was going to have Bob Saget-like voice-over stupidity.

Fortunately, none of these things happened. In fact, other than the ABC logo in the corner of the screen, it’s indistinguishable from the CBC version. The same cheesy music, same familiar locations (Dorchester Square, St. Louis Square, among others), same fake cops. The TV version doesn’t make it explicit that this is filmed in Montreal, which is kinda sad because there’ll probably be quite a lot of people confused at the French signs, red mailboxes and other things that make us not look like them. The website mentions that it’s a Canadian-made series, though the name of our fair city can’t be found (why is a goldmine of free publicity for our city not being pounced upon?).

If anything, it’s how little effort they put into changing the show that concerns me. They did a short graphic (with the familiar JFL logo) for before and after commercials, and they have this guy Rick Miller (yeah, I’d never heard of him either, but apparently he’s a Montrealer) introduce the show and say goodbye at the end. That’s it. I mean, the CBC show was bare-bones as it is. I’m not sure ABC can get away with just repackaging such a show, even over the summer.

From that and their website, which is about as bare-bones as you can get, I get the feeling ABC doesn’t expect this show to last through fall.

We’ll see. Maybe this can pick up an audience that thinks Punk’d and all its ilk are too aggressive or have too much dialogue or something.

UPDATE: Response from the blogosphere so far is not encouraging. The few media who mentioned it in advance gave it “something called” treatment. Blogger response fit that pretty well. “Disappointed.” “Not impressed.” “Beyond absurd” (from someone convinced it was shot in Mexico or Sao Paulo). “Desperately unfunny.” “Bland.” “The lamest.” And my favourite: “Absolute bullshit crap.” On the other side, as far as I can see, just one offhand “great” and one (albeit enthusiastic) “funny.”

LOST 2 this is not. And it’s hard to disagree. I would have rather seen gala stand-ups on U.S. television than a low-budget hidden camera gag show that, as far as they’re concerned, is a bad copy of all the other ones they’ve seen over the past half-decade.

What’s sad is this might give networks pause about importing other (good) Canadian television programming in the future.

UPDATED AGAIN: Overnight ratings for the show weren’t as bad as I thought they might be. They actually went up between shows, which shows it wasn’t advertised properly and viewers came in and stayed more than they left. Overall, it lost to America’s Got Talent, came in about tied with CBS’s NCIS repeat, and beat FOX’s On The Lot.

Could be I’ve written its obituary too soon.