/ Variety Formats for TV -
This is the one
format in television programming that is heavily
driven by the "talent" or person(s) involved
in hosting the show. With that in mind, the writer
and creator of a talk show or variety show format
needs to be keenly aware of possible hosting talents
that could bring a unique fit to the format they
have created. First we'll look at form,
can deny the damage that was done to daytime television
by the overflow of talk shows that crowded programming
during the nineties. As a result, we're left with
a great void in quality syndicated programming
between 9 am and 4 pm. This leaves a challenge
for network programmers, and a great opportunity
for writers and creators of original programs.
Just like all other
genres of television, when creating for daytime
television it is critical to understand your audience.
Daytime viewers are predominantly women between
the ages of 18 and 49. Looking within that age
bracket of women one can also assume a diversity
of tastes in terms of programming content. What
are these viewers interested in? Remodeling homes
and raising children is just the tip of the iceberg.
Ask yourself what the viewer possibly deals with
in their day to day life. What are their major
concerns? Interests? Desires? Necessities? And
then ask yourself what type of show can be geared
toward any of these avenues.
Late Night: When
thinking of Late Night Programming, its often
best to look at what network or cable network
has an open slot of airtime, and then try to identify
their target audience for what could be the flavor
or spirit of any late night talk show. Most shows
that air after prime-time are more liberal in
content when it comes to acceptable language and
activity on the show. But don't forget that this
too is a highly talent-driven arena, so it's best
to have a host in mind and eventually attached
to the show.
recent days both viewers and networks have hoped to bring back the Variety format. The trick
and challenge is to define what makes a variety
show for today's audience as opposed to the Variety
shows we all remember and love from years past.
Music and performance are root to any variety
show, but it is now the producers challenge to
find the format that goes beyond what we've seen
in the past and both entertains and informs. It
seems that if you can create an original enough
format for a composite variety show, then the
sky is the limit. Components could be comedy sketches,
hidden-camera bits, game show elements, audience
participation, celebrity interviews, musical performance,
amateur talent competitions, topical news segments,
etc. Keep in mind the following: Who is the audience?
Family? Teens only? Children? And what network
or cable-networks would possibly air such a program.
may think that a network first develops a show
and then goes out to hire the host. For talk shows
and variety shows it is often the opposite. A
producer will find a concept for a talk or variety
show that suits a specific talent/host who they
have been targeting or believe has a following
that will help launch the show. The talent is
then engaged in a development deal where they
will work hand in hand with the producers and
creators of the show-to-be, and build the show
around their personality, interests, and public
brand. The talent hired has to match and support
the brand of the show. If a cable network wants
to produce a daytime talk show for women about
weddings, they most likely are not going to hire
a host who has most recently left her fourth marriage
for an actor she was previously cheating with.
That hosts personal life is in conflict with the
brand of the show and would be a distraction and
deterrent for viewers.
To find personalities
and talent who may be a good model for your shows
host, look anywhere and everywhere on television.
Local cable shows may sometimes feature a unique
talent. Local newscasters have become hosts of
hit shows many times over. Also, sports figures,
political figures, or former television and film
stars with a very specific point of view or persona
could bring the right hook to an original format.