A Little … Weird

The Floor Director for The Hour is pointing out the many fire exits to the studio audience, as he must before each taping.
But there’s an extra addition to his comedic spiel (and The Hour’s audience will laugh at almost anything).
There are two tables off to the side that hold a couple of LCD monitors, and chairs around the tables.
He explains that these will be occupied by the producer of the show, and the writers of the show. And that we may see George occasionally going over to confer with them during the course of the show.
This is new.

Don’t recall ever seeing such an arrangement for a television show.
The producer has a desk IN the studio?
And the writers too?
That seems so odd.
Are we supposed to think that the show is being altered as it goes along? That is, other than the usual cuts and stretching that goes on when the clock is ticking.

But sure enough, there they are.
Two women as producers, and four guys as writers take their seats as the show starts. Their backs are to the audience. They stay focused on the screens in front of them. You would think they are actually working.

But you have to wonder, what purpose does this serve?
Isn’t the show already written, and isn’t what’s going to happen here largely, even completely, predictable?
Are the writers being punished? Forced to “feel” the reaction of the audience to their jokes?
There’s something odd about this.
Is this copied from other shows? Is this a new trend in live studio production?
Who came up with this idea?
Don’t writers usually go home when the script is finished?
Are they there to help George if he gets in over his head (and isn’t that every night)?

There’s a girl at the end of table with her feet up on a chair, as well.
Nothing unusual. But one of the guys sitting with the writers starts to give her a two handed neck massage. And it goes on and on. All very friendly and apparently innocent, and the other guys just stare at the screens.
But this is a work environment and it seems odd that no one wants to tell them “hey, we may be casual here, but that’s a little too casual”.

In both instances you get the sense that even though it’s all kind of weird, nobody is going to voice any objection or question what’s happening.

It’s the CBC.
You do whatever management says, keep your head down and mouth shut, and you’ll do fine.
And if things begin to seem a bit strange, just pretend you didn’t notice.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 6:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Wow, what a scoop. The staff of a TV show were spotted in the studio while that show was being taped. Crazy! In other breaking news, a camera was pointed directly at Peter Mansbridge during the National for much of the show last week and Jian Ghomeshi has been rumoured to speak into a microphone during the broadcast of Q. Keep up the good work, you’re a regular Seymour Hersh.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 10:51 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    A producer in the studio? Oh no! Allan shows once again that he knows zilch about broadcasting (and never watched Letterman).

  3. Anonymous
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 9:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s not uncommon for these kinds of shows to have “producers” tables. But not usually so public.
    Last time I attended a taping, the gang of 7 was equally distracting and I too got the feeling they were ‘forced’ to sit there; most of the time they weren’t actually watching the monitors or the live show. Although, I did see one writer actually grimace and wince at Strombo’s delivery of a joke. Believe me, I was sympathetic, how often does Strombo really deliver with any grace…but to see the writer’s (I’m vaguely familiar with the guy)immediate reaction was odd, and actually more entertaining than the joke itself.

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