The right name says it all

February 12, 2008

When it comes to cooking up a new program, one of the greatest challenges is devising a name.  Those few words can influence whether people want to tune in, whether they boast about watching it and, ultimately, whether it becomes part of everyday conversation. 


The best titles are generally a few carefully selected words that logically fit together, create a lyrical rhythm and actually reflect what an audience can expect.  Outstanding examples include Desperate Housewives, The Biggest Loser or Dirty Sexy Money (what a pilot episode, deftly introducing so many characters and capturing that Darling family – another brilliant name).


As formats move globally, it becomes more important to identify a show via a moniker that means something the world over. Big Brother never attracted network interest under its original title The Golden Cage and Survivor was first produced in Sweden under Expedition Robinson, but the more generic title change helped it explode worldwide.


Last week saw the launch of the extremely poorly named The Chopping Block. The only thing this reality/lifestyle/makeover/cooking mash-up has in common with its producer’s predecessor, The Block, is that b-word.  This time around there are no aspirational locations, no big prizes and a total lack of positive life-changing moments.  Instead, what starts out as a noble effort to helping out struggling business owners quickly becomes a lesson in where not to eat around the nation. 


The debut episode attracted 719 000 viewers.  The late night encore screening had 265 000 tune in, which appears promising until we realise that 1.2 million people were watching the cricket only minutes before.


Unless the next few weeks uncovers a new appetite for crappy cuisine and Catriona Rowntree’s condescending tones (did anyone else flinch at that opening quip about the Cronulla riots) the future for The Chopping Block appears inevitable.


Columnists the nation over must have their pun-filled pens poised. Perhaps Channel 9 will learn from this lesson and re-consider where to bury Pushing Daisies.


3 Responses to “The right name says it all”

  1. themolk Says:

    I must say I’ve been watching it out of sheer devotion to Matt Moran. Nine’s Thursday offering of Ramsay’s UK/US show is far more entertaining, less competition oriented and speckled with much more swearing wins hands down – because of Ramsay. The US version is annoying because of “stupid voice over guy” bringing us up to speed after every break.

    Why do we need Catriona? Matt could handle it. The only correlation I see to ratings with TCB at the moment is that as ratings slide, so do the wardrobe revealing more of Catriona’s newly-married cleavage. If they don’t take it off air soon she’ll be doing the show naked. That might fix the ratings, I’d think… 😉

    This is a poor, poor offering from the geniuses who brought us The Block. None of the same innovation, none of the same single mindedness around contestants. I agree with your comment about “where not to eat”… even the winners are proving to be places to avoid at all costs. Let’s face it, with $20,000 as the first prize, they are only gonna get desperate owners who are 2 minutes from closing or complete tools wanting their 15 minutes of stupidity. Make it a million dollars, include a bunch of other restaurants (maybe one from each state), run it for 8 weeks and pit them against each other and… oh… Channel 7 already did that…

  2. tvmatters Says:

    The ratings for Chopping Block are just hanging in there. But with Monster House gone it seems the axe has started swinging.

  3. themolk Says:

    …and let’s face it, Monster House was only every gonna get two episodes if it was lucky. What a crappy idea, and so poorly delivered to boot. You’d think that Ted Emery had better things to do with his time…

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