A little while ago I asked about what was happening with the government’s talk of starting up a family channel and whether it would become a reality. Well it seems that ABC 3 will be starting up by December this year and I hope that it will be successful. Notwithstanding the fact that ABC 3 is advertising for on-air talent by getting people with ‘big personalities’ and a HSC certificate to send in a two minute video (the same shtick that Channel 10 used to get Big Brother contestants) I think that with the right sort of programming that it should be successful. The programmers should remember that the shows that they screen should be entertaining and/or educational, not just trying to be trendy or cool, which is what I think that most kids’ TV programmers on the commercial stations and on pay TV try to do. They forget that what is hip and trendy today is stale and mouldy in a couple of months, and may not translate well to overseas markets if they try to sell the program to foreign markets.
I also believe that showing retro-kids shows late at night, when kids are fast asleep, may be a good way of hooking adult viewers who have a yearning for some nostalgia. I am sure that Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers would love to watch old episodes of Sesame Street, Play School and Mr Squiggle, the Curiosity Show, Totally Wild, Simon Townshend’s Wonder World, The Electric Company, Animals Animals Animals and the Big Blue Marble, among others. A lot of these shows originally screened on the ABC and those that did not would probably not cost too much to get the rights to. I don’t understand why Disney Channel in particular, shows repeat episodes of their trendy tween shows late at night, when their tween audience is asleep, instead of trying to tap into the nostalgia market. I’m sure that their ratings would be higher if they did!
Also, I don’t think that it would cost too much for the ABC to screen some classic cartoons on ABC 3. Disney cartoons would be out, as Disney has a longstanding deal with Channel 7 on free to air to show Disney products, even though they haven’t shown any Mickey, Donald and Goofy cartoons for a decade. A similar deal holds between Channel 9 and Warner Bros, but I’m sure ABC could get hold of the old Columbia and UPA cartoons quite cheaply, as well as those from European cartoon studios such as Zagreb and Rembrandt. Even some of George Pal’s Puppetoons would be great.