- Host--I don't watch Dancing with Semi-Famous People, but, by all accounts, Tom Bergeron is among the best in the business at keeping things moving along while still being a pro, and his prior hosting of the Bee has been quite good. Chris Harrison, on the other hand, is not. Understandably, they want a face from one of their shows to serve as a host, but couldn't they have done better? (OK, looking at their schedule, maybe not.) I don't mind Erin Andrews in the Kiss and Cry space, as she's a decent interpersonal presence and fine with human interest stuff (not to mention nice to look at), but she should be paired with someone with a little more background in the Bee.
- Scheduling--A staple of the recent coverage has been the pre-cut clip packages for major spellers. Because of how this year's Bee wound up working out (the relatively lack of people making return trips to the finals, that some favorites went down early), they didn't have pre-cut packages for many of the finalists. Also contributing to the problem is that unlike most sporting events, it's very hard to guess how long the Bee may run (witness the Wipeout filler), and hard to say whether a round is hard or easy, at least once they're off the main word list. Perhaps what they should consider is shifting the Bee schedule a bit, with them completing preliminaries, and then proceeding on Friday till they have completed a round with 20 or fewer left standing. Then, Sunday, starting at 7 EST, we go live on ABC til we have a winner. That lets the spellers rest a little more, which would be well-deserved, and give ABC an extra day to do packages/interviews with any finalists they hadn't done previously.
- Production Values--I admire that they're shooting it in HD and giving it full ESPN treatment, and I appreciate that they aren't putting correct spellings up immediately after Dr. Bailly reads, but giving viewers a chance to play along. However, there's too much split-screening, however, especially on the parents of the finalists--just because you can use a split screen doesn't mean you should. I also don't mind a little gussying-up for TV, but did we need a not-terribly-funny bit from Ferrell and Wahlberg, or the announcers promoing Wipeout, which might be the antithesis of the Bee? (And let us not talk about the bizarro "Do I Have To Spell It Out" musical montage.)
- Setup--At least for the conclusion of the first round, Kiss and Cry was on the stage, which just seems wrong. These are young children, and they should be entitled to a little more privacy after the bell rings, which I'm sure is a very crushing moment. (Though credit to ABC for not forcing folks back to talk to Erin unless they were willing to do so and giving competitors a moment of personal time.)
Saturday, June 5, 2010
THANK YOU, DR. BAILLY: Due to work stuff and some other issues, I wasn't able to be as involved in the Bee coverage this year as I'd like to have been, and only got around to watching last night's ABC coverage today. Seems like there's general agreement around here that this year's coverage didn't work, but I wanted to talk a little more about why:
Posted by Matt at 2:43 PM