Monday, September 15, 2008

Fierce TV

One of my regular joys is the New York Times series of podcasts based on their TimesTalks events. As the advertising for the podcast says, it is a series of "compelling conversations" between New York Times editors and their guests. I think the best one I have heard by now was the one with Madeleine Albright on power but they never manage to disappoint me.

The latest podcast was with Lauren Zalaznick, the Director of the Bravo TV channel, and Tim Gunn and Gail Simmons from their programmes. Tim Gunn is the coach in Project Runway, I believe the biggest hit of the channel. Simmons is a judge from Top Chef.

I highly recommend listening to the podcast. Zalaznick sheds light to the way their programmes differ from normal "intervention" reality television and how the changes in television threaten the dominance of the big networks. Zalaznick talks about how Bravo bases its programming on excellence, professionals and people driven by a desire - whether fashion or comedy. Gunn and Simmons talk about how their programmes helps people to understand professionalism and talk in a new way about food and fashion.

I like Bravo, I really do. I watched quite a lot of it while on holiday in the US. The channel is genuinely feel good and free from cynicism. It is about fascinating people doing the only thing they can see themselves doing - great example being Kathy Griffin and her show My Life on the D-List.

Bravo is a good example of clever programming and profiling. It caters for a diverse audience but still manages to put a Bravo label on the programmes. It is not trying to be the most intellectual channel but manages to bring very different people together.

The interview is also a clever example of dedication to understand television. It is a rare example of printed journalism where the journalist actually want to understand television and dares to say she loves television. Highly recommended (easily subscribed through iTunes).

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