Reality television

Photo of the Day

Richard Heene: Balloon Boy Hoax. “I’m really sorry I yelled at him,” Richard Heene said, “He scared the heck out of us.” The Colorado Army National Guard prepared to launch an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter to help in rescue, but the craft came down on its own. landed in a vacant field Thursday afternoon. Workers quickly tore it open, revealing there was no one inside. The empty craft suggested the child might have fallen from the runaway balloon as it sailed wildly for more than an hour — or that he never left the ground.

“Balloon Boy”

Only one family can claim “Balloon Boy” as their own.

That’s the moniker given to Falcon Heene in October 2009 when he was just 6 years old.

On October 15, 2009, 6-year-old Falcon Heene, aka the Balloon Boy, became the source of a wild goose chase that took Colorado authorities over both the land and air space of northern Colorado. After his parents, Richard and Mayumi, frantically alerted local police that their son was trapped in a balloon floating up to 7,000 feet above ground, the world watched in horror as the desperate search for the missing child dragged on for over four hours.

Even President Obama had got dumped from a live broadcast in New Orleans to track the supersized Jiffy Pop bag floating over Colorado.

The story immediately drew a swarm of media attention — after all, it isn’t every day that news crews cover a runaway UFO-like balloon potentially carrying a 6-year-old boy. But with the enormous influx of attention also came suspicions that the whole ordeal was nothing more than a hoax, one that Falcon’s parents hoped would simply garner them their 15 minutes of fame.

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Want to know how out of touch Labour are?

Do you want to know how out of touch Labour are?

Well, you really only have to read Jacinda Ardern’s Sunday Star-Times column and her hectoring of Mediaworks and Mark Weldon to understand just how out of touch they are.

Dear Mark Weldon, Mediaworks chief executive

I usually start with some kind of pithy greeting, but I barely know where to begin. What subject line should I even use,  RE: your destruction of TV3?

And yet that’s exactly what I want to say – I feel like I have watched you single handedly destroy a brand that I, and many other Kiwis had a great affinity for, and I am not sure why.

The final straw was Mark Jennings. We all stood by and watched while a number of stellar journalists were either pushed, or jumped from what seemed to be a real-life version of Survivor: Broadcasting. But underneath all that, there was that small glimmer of hope embodied by the professionalism among those who remained, including Jennings. Now that, too, has gone.

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Photo Of The Day

Beto Ortiz and Ruth Thalía Sayas Sánchez on El Valor de la Verdad. LUKA GONZALEZ/ARCHIVOLATINO/REDUX.

Beto Ortiz and Ruth Thalía Sayas Sánchez on El Valor de la Verdad. LUKA GONZALEZ/ARCHIVOLATINO/REDUX.

The Contestant

Ruth Thalía, a teenager from the outskirts of Lima, Peru, became an overnight sensation on a hit television game show. Then, she disappeared.

The Peruvian version of the international television game show franchise The Moment of Truth arrived in Lima in mid-2012. By that time, the program had been produced in dozens of countries around the world, including the United States, where it aired on Fox in 2008 and 2009. In Peru, the show was called El Valor de la Verdad (“the value of the truth”), and the format was essentially the same as it had been everywhere else: A contestant is brought into the station and asked a set of questions, some banal, some uncomfortable, some bordering on cruel, all while hooked to a polygraph.

The answers are cataloged. Then, a few days later, the contestant is brought back to go through the questions once more, this time before a studio audience. The answers given are compared to the results of the polygraph, and for each truthful response, the contestant wins money. If she lies— or rather, if the polygraph says she lies— she loses it all. Naturally, the more money at stake, the more compromising the questions become. The contestant has the option of calling it off after each answer.

In Peru, the show’s host was Beto Ortiz, who in a recent national poll was named the country’s most powerful TV journalist. A balding, heavyset man in his mid-40s, Beto has long been one of the more successful and controversial figures in Peru. He is sharp, inquisitive, funny, and has gained millions of fans; the television critic Fernando Vivas, who writes for El Comercio, Peru’s most influential newspaper, described Beto as “a monster on the scene, with all the ambivalence implied by the word ‘monster.’”

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Guest Post – Why Broadcast TV is Broken


The broadcast TV model is broken and it’s unclear if it can ever be fixed. Internet streaming is the culprit – it has given power back to the audience. Here’s why:

The basic business model of TV is to entice you to watch with content – and then rent those eyeballs out in bulk to advertisers.

This all worked well while the general public lined up each night to watch whatever was put in front of them in real time. For decades TV ads were the glam business end of the marketers’ arsenal. They would take an eye-watering budget, produce anything they liked – because anything seemed to work – and congratulate themselves all the way to the award dinners.

The trick to making money is a fine balance between what you spend on programming and the rates those eyeball ratings let you command from advertisers. A TV man’s wet dream is to find some unknown (therefore cheap) content overseas that is an overnight success and has everyone talking in the smoko rooms. Get it wrong and pay top dollar for programmes that nobody watches – and the business model is on the verge of a downward spiral – less eyeballs, less revenue, less to spend on content, and so on round it goes. (Think Campbell Live.) But its not just cost – free content can be fraught too (think Party Political broadcasts), while attractive to some can be too contentious for some advertisers – dropping the cost of an ad at that time slot.    Read more »