TV

TV we’d rather watch than the Oscar Pistorius channel


Multichoice, the country’s premiere pay TV operator, is launching a rolling news channel that will be dedicated to coverage of Oscar Pistorius during the Paralympian’s murder trial which starts on 3rd March this year. Pistorius is the runner who shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

The entire country entire world was glued to radios, TVs, Twitter feeds and web updates during Pistorius’ bail trial in February last year. Since the runner was released on bail, coverage has abated, but not by much. Respect for the legal process – not to mention the family of the bereaved – has been more or less thrown out of the window with an endless barrage of “did he or didn’t he” speculation in the press and public forums over the last year. The editor of South Africa’s own Mail & Guardian – about as august an organ as one gets – wrote in his Christmas message to readers that the trial had “broken journalism”, but not necessarily in a bad way as the country tumbles into the increasingly tabloid methods of coverage that mark out the new media age.

It only makes sense, then, that to mark the incredibly solemn and deadly serious – literally – murder trial of Pistorius, that it will get its own ‘pop-up’ TV station. It’s the logical conclusion of the digital age, the culmination of all the warnings we’ve seen in films from The Running Man through to The Hunger Games. There’s a thought: they could call it Running Oscar Murder Games and have done with it.

In DStv’s defence, the channel is going to be produced by the Carte Blanche team and so will presumably try to stick to the serious stuff, and there’s no doubting people will lap it up. But what will be on screen when the judge withdraws for the day? Highlights? Goal-by-goal commentary?

Right or wrong, it’s happening. But it did get us thinking: “What won’t they put on TV?” If there’s room for what is essentially a tabloid in TV channel form, what other fantastic programming could we expect? Here are some channels that, until this morning, didn’t make that much sense.

And we’d much rather watch these.

KFC buy me lunch

It’s well-known – and even documented – that some Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers have a penchant for KFC. The colonel’s secret (and delicious) eleven herbs and spices are to our traffic police as donuts are to stereotypical American cops. How about this, then? A few cameras set up at KFC hotspots around Gauteng, monitoring the traffic police traffic.

We could even turn it into a game show. Perhaps something like Puntr could be used to let the audience vote in real time whether the lunching lieutenant is going to order a Streetwise Feast or just a sparkling water. Everybody can be a winner.

Coin Scratch Central

Metro PD’s fast food antics might prove to be limited. Plus PETA will probably petition for the channel to stop encouraging the visitation of delicious chicken graveyards. What will provide endless comedy entertainment, though, is a 24 hour feed of the parking lot pay machines at malls around the country.

Imagine spending days on end watching people walk up, insert their parking voucher, and go through the parking payment ritual. First they shimmy around trying to feel up their pockets for change. Some R2 coins in hand, they insert them into the slot. The machine rejects the coins, and the punter inserts them over and over. Eventually they resort to the most universal superstition of them all: scratching the coins on the side of the machine. It’ll inspire the sort of viral laughter that you get from staying up until 3am and end up saying “peanut butter” over and over again.

24 hour Oscars

How about something featuring an Oscar that’s a little more worthy of being celebrated? The Academy Awards were first televised in 1953, so you can bet your bottom dollar that there is a vault of content to be associated with a 24-hour Oscar-only channel. Slightly grey carpet interviews with the stars of Hollywood’s golden years, right the way up to today’s red carpet in full 3D HD smellovision where we see 5-second interviews with a holographic Scarlett Johansson.

Documentaries about each of the stars who’ve won awards. Quaint stories about awards that were lost or stolen. Even snippets featuring uncredited extras from Oscar-winning movies. Unless we’ve just described the E! channel.

Russian Drivers’ Ed

Let’s face it, driving and road manners in South Africa aren’t the best. And rather than having politicians read out the road death statistics while telling motorists that speed kills, we should have something that shows the actual consequences.

Enter: Russian dashcam videos. There are enough of these videos on the internet that content for a 24-hour TV channel should be no problem at all. It could even become mandatory viewing – an educational channel for school children – where, after the 150th clip of a pedestrian having a close call with a truck, people will simply be too afraid to venture out onto the roads.

And given Russia’s questionable relationship with copyright, simply grabbing the videos without permission means that there’s less red tape in the way of getting such a project going for as little money as possible.

YouTube Offline

For every minute of the day, YouTube gets 100 hours of new content uploaded. A 24-hour TV channel that just replays the latest YouTube videos would have unlimited content to work with. And it’ll be the most-watched channel on TV, because there’s variety. One minute you’ll be watching a kitten play with a box, and that could be followed by a gnarly skateboard crash compilation. With the number of high-quality YouTube channels growing, there’s even a chance you could get some great, informative content from the likes of Vsauce, ViHart, or MinutePhysics.

The only real disadvantage to this would be having something like this start playing. Well, it could be worse.

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