It’s a wonder in this age of reality-laden television, the actual decisions regarding the programming of timeslots hasn’t been relegated the duty of phone and text happy viewers.
While watching a painful, yet strangely satisfying episode of Canadian Idol last night, I heard host Ben son-of-that-former-premier-guy Mulroney mutter something about the power of the vote being in the audience’s hands. It was oddly sardonic coming from a man who probably near-missed his way out of the political world and instead segued into the next best thing: hosting Canadian Idol.
I realize Idol shouldn’t exactly be the pool from which I draw life analogies, but its power to the people philosophy is not only subversive, but also utterly ironic when applied to the bureaucracy of television. Cut down to just the top 22, the idol contestants’ fates lie not in the hands of opinionated judges or their own confident performances, but the sticky fingers of a large demographic of 18 to 34-year-olds. Talk about ushering in the new generation: here’s a show that has made itself a success, not by taking the advice of upper level network honchos, but instead, the sparkly-eyed pre-teen that lives down the block from you. What’s more is that it’s the top-rated program in all of North America, and will probably continue to be for many years to come.
So why don’t we just apply the same viewer-power to all of television? Instead of having TV execs deem everything from green lights to indefinite axing, why not fire some Idol-power into our television viewing?
It seems viewers enjoy the interaction and are highly informed about what makes good talent. They’ve repeatedly chosen ideal candidates for Idol, some of which have even transcended their fifteen minutes to become award-winning long-term artists.
The idea itself isn’t even that far-fetched, considering the success of self-made TV schedules using on demand services such as TiVO.
And think of the havoc us fans could wreak. Ohh, oh.
Firefly could soar again. The Freaks and Geeks would come alive. Wonderfalls would be a place we’d visit every week. And My So-called Life would be inundated with all the little shows I never got to enjoy before their time was cut so suddenly short.
Yes fans, the power is in our hands.
For once Ben Seacroney got something right: don’t throw away your vote.