Trista Grant sees the Girlie Show as a great idea that has been poorly
On paper, the Girlie Show looks pretty good - an audience of two million
on Friday night and another 900,000 for the Saturday repeat. It
certainly qualifies as ‘original programming’ and uses the magazine
format that is tried and tested for youth programming. Attitudinally it
probably hits the mark too...but did you see it?
What a load of old rubbish. I may not be 16 to 24, but I am 16 to 34 (as
were most of the studio audience) and I found the content enormously
Some at Universal McCann and within the agency even suggested that they
would have preferred to see The Word.
Think about it - ‘wanker of the week’, ‘naked apes’, ‘knickers’,
‘viewers’ husbands’. I doubt the consumer research from Channel 4 said:
‘What we really want is toilet humour on TV - wouldn’t it be funny to
take a microscope to men’s underwear?’
If we had polled our media clients, I am sure that they would have come
up with a different format for their ads for the Girlie Show. Product
association with some of the elements of the programme were dire.
We interviewed more than 450 viewers the next day with the statement:
‘It’s a show for people like me.’ Overall, our street interviews showed
that it was the specific content, not the idea, that was the problem.
On the presentation issue, Sara Cox struggling with an autocue is
inexcusable. It may be true that this type of imperfection will improve
with time, but will the public give you the time?
All of these elements can easily be fixed, and overall Channel 4 should
be applauded for taking the risk in the first place.
One thing that really puzzled me was the absence of ads from record
companies. They were an obvious target for such a youth-oriented
programme. It’ll be interesting to see who joins the queue for centre-
break spots in the weeks ahead.
Trista Grant is the managing director of Universal McCann