A-Channel morning

A friend of mine Facebooked a couple of weeks ago about the AChannel morning show.

Pretty much, she said it sucked. I agree with her, but it’s strange that something with so much promise, and that works so well elsewhere, falls apart here.

The Breakfast Television program in Toronto is great. Same with the one from Halifax (at least it was when I watched it a few years ago).

But in Ottawa? It’s pretty bad.

But for producers of the show, it’s not the end of the world. It should be pretty easy to fix up.

Following shows what is wrong with the show:

1) There’s no chemistry. Maybe the four hosts are best of friends away from work. Maybe they hang out together every weekend. But on air, it feels like the hosts have to struggle to get along with one another. Any type of “freeflow” conversation feels forced. It’s almost like they have nothing in common, and they just sit and listen patiently until it’s their turn to talk.

The only chemistry there is seems to be between the weather guy and the news anchorwoman. They seem to enjoy talking to one another, teasing one another. But they only interact for about a minute each half-hour.

The easiest way to fix it would be to move people around. If two people have chemistry, why not have them talk to each other for longer? Move the anchorwoman to hosting, and one of the hosts to news anchor. Easy enough fix.

2) Because of the lack chemistry, it seems as if that flows into other segments. For example, interviews with guests about different topics.

Now, maybe the guests are dull. Maybe the guests aren’t very television-friendly. Maybe they’re told to talk in a low, passive voice. But almost every single guest comes across as shy, nervous and soft-spoken. It makes it very difficult to watch. There’s no excitement, no urgency about what they are talking about.

Maybe it’s a small-town feel that people believe Ottawa has, and that everyone will know they are on television, so the guests become more nervous. Even in the regular segments, with people who are always on the show, the guests come across as nervous. Surely those who are experts should be more confident in themselves, and be more confident in what they are talking about.

This could be more difficult to fix. Maybe people need to do a test run ahead of time. Maybe the producers should stop having guests who suck back on the show. Or maybe the hosts need to do a better job of making the guests feel at ease. But something needs to be done to fix the problem.

3) Probably the worst of the five is this one: it feels like one giant ad.

First off, there’s the fact that the hosts are each in about 17 different commercials each. So when the show goes to commercial, you can’t really quite tell.

The second fact is when the hosts do interviews, it seems to be more about pimping a product that anything else. One of the hosts seems to go to a different business each day, which does nothing but talk about all the nice things one can do there. The other hosts interview in-studio guests, which is sure to mention the business’ name over and over. Then there are the segments with fashion shows from certain boutiques, makeovers from certain spas or hairdressers, and video reviews from online movie retailers.

It’s just too much.

4) The features just aren’t very exciting. This is a combination of the last two points. But when the guests are dull, and they’re doing nothing but featuring a business, it leads to segments that just drag on.

5) You know what helps with the sports stories after the news? Highlights of the sports events. I know it’s tough to compete with all the 24-hour sports coverage (TSN, The Score, Sportsnet, RDS, etc.). But if you’re going to talk about sports, why not show a highlight that deals directly with what the host is talking about? Most of the time, all we see is a scoreboard and a quick rundown.

There are a few ways to deal with this. Maybe get rid of the sports completely. Or maybe give a little more time to them. But the easiest solution? Don’t try to show all the games! If the Ottawa Senators played last night, show those highlights with a quote or two from the players. People in Ottawa won’t care if they don’t get the score of the Anaheim-Nashville game. If they do, they wouldn’t be tuning into the show.

Or, and maybe this is just too wacky an idea, but instead of trying to compete with the sports stations, why not show local sports? Maybe show highlights of the high school football game from the previous night. Or the highlights of the men’s fastpitch championship. If you’re a show that is supposed to focus on all things local, then spread that into sports.

Anyways, these are just a few examples of what is wrong with the show, and a few things that should be done differently. Will things change? Probably not. But that just means the show will continue to suffer. And maybe that means more Facebook statuses of friends of mine saying that the show stinks.


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