Friday, October 7, 2011

Coronation Street Crossroads

Mess with Coronation Street fans at your peril.
In 1994, when Aussie tv programmer Mike Lattin dared to cut the number of episodes shown per week, NZ viewers were outraged. After a public outcry, he was vanquished and the status quo restored. When character Diedre Rashid was wrongly imprisoned, her plight was mentioned in the UK Parliament! The appearance of trans-sexual character Hayley Cropper brought about law changes in the UK! This show has social impact: it’s not just “a soap”.
Yet last week TVNZ announced it was moving it earlier than prime time, in favour of the Australian Masterchef finals. Coro will be cut from two x 1-hr.episodes weekly, to 30min.x five days a week at 5.30pm (from 17 Oct.) with a Saturday omnibus screening. TVNZ says it's therefore playing more Coro and aren’t the fans lucky!
But after Masterchef ends, there's the final of the *yawn* Rugby World Cup and the election, so Coro may not return to prime time. TVNZ'll try editing Coro into more family-friendly fare needed for its new time slot, but will have problems – [SPOILERS] with lesbian kisses, murders, Fizz jailed, Leanne’s real mum and a brutal rape coming up.
Passionate Coro fans are ready for battle. Online petitions have been started. Thousands of comments are posted on social websites. There’s talk of an advertising boycott.
The deluge of prime-time foodie shows is way OTT. Some evenings have cooking programmes on all four main channels at once… as well as the Food Channel on Sky! Is TVNZ insane, thinking these are the in-demand programmes? Of all the daft things it’s done in recent years, this one takes the gateau (a close second must be the recent screening of Real Life: The World's Most Enhanced Woman And Me. It was sad, sick, and not worthy of air-time).
TVNZ should re-think its plans for Coronation Street post-election... because viewers are re-thinking theirs.

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