Friday, 10 August 2007

How Dare You Mislead The Very Stupid?

I read today that Deal Or No Deal's phone in competition has landed the producers with a hefty fine because "some viewers of the Noel Edmonds-hosted show may have been induced to take part because they thought it was broadcast live, whereas it was actually pre-recorded".

And maybe they could have, but those viewers would have to be quite monumentally stupid. Because they watch Noel in his bad shirt refer to the winning caller whose name is on the screen now while carefully avoiding using the caller's name or any personal pronouns, a blindingly obvious sign of a pre-recorded show, but perhaps not as blindingly obvious as that time the newspapers reported the results of the quiz days before it was on TV. And they see him, wearing the same bad shirt, ask an audience member to pick a box and then have it opened and then he reads out the amount of money. Nobody could possibly think this is a live broadcast, and if they do they are so stupid that Channel 4 probably should have their money because they're likely to put it to better use.

And in any case, even if the boxed sums of money were predictable, given the right information, they were still random, so nobody has been misled. Besides which, at no point have Channel 4 ever pretended the show is live, and at no point did anyone claim the contents of the selected box weren't known -- except people in the pre-recorded show, who genuinely didn't know what they were.

Essentially, this is a rather chilling precedent: producers are now liable for the consequences of any insane nonsense that morons may choose to infer about their shows. I think I shall sue the producers of Heroes because I may have been induced to panic because I thought it was true, whereas it was actually fiction.

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