Anil Thakraney: Why TV debates have become such an ordeal

04 May,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Quite frankly, I am tiring big-time of television debates and chat shows. It’s become an ordeal to watch these. And if things don’t change, news channels will lose the war to the internet. And lose it much quicker than we had imagined.


Here are five changes I would like to see happen, ASAP:


1. Anchors must remain objective at all times. Their personal biases are easy to sniff out, and this reduces the discussion to a charade. One way to make this happen is for the Delhi journos to stop bonding with politicians. And for the Mumbai journos to stop bonding with industrialists and movie stars. Without the distance, it’s impossible to remain neutral.


2. Anchors must offer no opinions. However tempting that might be. That is the job of the members on their panel. And if the anchors are itching to belt out personal views, that must happen in their newspaper columns (and quite a few senior anchors have that opportunity). Or, they can create special programmes on their channels with the agenda to make themselves be heard. Like ‘Arnab Speaketh’ or ‘Rajdeep Unplugged’. Viewers who value their opinions will patronize such shows.


3. Programming heads must find new voices. And more importantly, relevant voices. The usual suspects cannot be shoved into our living rooms all the time. All the more so because programmers have no option but to invite the same spokespersons of various political parties. Therefore the rest of the panelists have to be fresh faces. Seriously, it’s rather comical to have Suhel Seth, Alyque Padamsee, Shobhaa De, Prahlad Kakar, and so on, shower their pearls of wisdom on us every evening and on every topic.


4. Most TV debates conclude very sweetly with ‘The entire system has to be overhauled’. How priceless is that! Here’s a suggestion, guys: Be ruthless. During a live discussion, demand that viewers be offered fresh insights, don’t take nonsense from your guests. And for the recorded shows, if no new perspectives have emerged, simply trash that particular episode. And redo it at a later date. Much wiser to do that than to air mindless stuff.


5. DO NOT PLAY JUDGE. Not in the news bulletin, not in the chat room, not in the panel discussion. And repeat this ten times in your head. When we viewers want justice, we’ll go to the court rooms. Thank you very much.


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PS: Interesting approach by Old Spice. Believe in your ‘smellf’. Good attitude. If they can milk this property, Old Spice can own the category. A lesson for all those after-shave and male deo brands whose ads feature women mindlessly chasing the studs.


Post a Comment 

2 responses to “Anil Thakraney: Why TV debates have become such an ordeal”

  1. Thakraneyscritic says:

    Looks like thakraney hasnt got laid since the start of this column. Always frustrated with something or the other. Get a life u powerless dinwitted publicity hungry git

  2. Amitfilm says:

    You are being Utopian Anil!The problems you have listed for News channels are germaine and endemic!

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