Making a TV Show

This weekend we went to see the taping of the last ever episode of ‘Good New Week’ (GNW) – a comedy program we’ve enjoyed for years. Unfortunately all did not go according to plan (a topic we have discussed in other posts).

There were two sessions of 2 hours each with an hour’s break; we were booked to attend the second session starting at 5:00pm. Technical problems in the first session meant the second session did not start until after 6:00pm and generated a host of problems with some good learnings……

First, once the problem became apparent, the queue for the 5:00 show were told of the delay and the time to come back – good communication and good decision making (we went for a drink).

Second, the star host of the show, Paul McDermott apologised and explained the cause of the problem before starting the second session – admitting a problem and apologising is a great starting point; see:

Then the show had to be taped out of sequence because several of the panellists also had their own shows to give as part of the overall Melbourne International Comedy festival. A lot of the re-organising was done on the fly but again as far as possible the audience were kept informed.

With all of the disruptions, our 7:00 dinner was delayed to 9.00pm (but we kept in communication with our stakeholder’s in the restaurant).

Thinking back on the experience one lesson learned is to extend a quotation often attributed to Otto von Bismarck (the first Chancellor of Germany) to the making of TV shows:

“If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made*”. This definitely applies to taped TV shows and highlights the skill and luck needed for ‘live-to-air’ shows.

*Note: This quote probably was not by Bismark, there is a quote: “Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts” (The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night) attributed to him but not referenced, an earlier version “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made” was said by American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1877).

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