As your blogging resource for the less reputable end of popular culture, I tuned in to the launch of Nuts TV last night, purely for research purposes I hasten to add. If you know the cultural horizons of your lad mag market – booze, birds, cars and fitba – then you could probably have predicted the sort of level the new station is aiming for. Although I was a little surprised by how clean it was – I’d been expecting something about one step up from Babestation, but actually it’s a good bit tamer than much of what appears on Channel Phwoar after the watershed.
It looks like it’s filmed in a basement on a budget of about a tenner, but instead of Wayne and Garth the live programming is fronted by a Blonde Woman and a Hairy Man, who were perfectly acceptable in an identikit kind of way. The general atmosphere was a sort of boozy cheerfulness, confirming that this is definitely post-pub TV. There is an air of Jonathan Ross with the metrosexual camp replaced by blokishness, a smidgeon of Eurotrash minus Antoine, and a great big whack of Friday Night Project.
It’s TV for tanked-up twentysomethings, which I guess puts me outside the target market. The North vs. South game show and the Blondes vs. Brunettes challenge are essentially pub games, and probably become more fun in direct proportion to how many lagers you’ve drunk. Same with the gross-out stories on Rude News, although that did raise a chuckle or two.
The obvious weakness is in the cars and fitba department, as this isn’t Match of the Day or Top Gear, nor has it the resources of either. So we have discussions about cars and fitba. This instantly put me in mind of UTV’s End to End – since the BBC got the rights to show Gaelic games, what we got on UTV was Logie and Frank chittering away in the studio about games they couldn’t show us. You may think this is a disability, but I think interactivity is the key here – as talkSPORT has proved, men are more than willing to talk shite about the beautiful game for nine hours at a stretch.
The one thing that caught my eye was Book at Bedtime, which is Nuts TV’s contribution to the national literacy strategy. This consisted of the fetching Lucy Pinder sprawling on a bed in her nightie while reading Shakespeare – Henry V, unless I’m much mistaken. If this is a cunning plan to raise the lads’ cultural level, it is ingenious – even your most illiterate lad will tolerate Shakespeare if it’s being read by a girl with massive knockers. Next thing you know, this will catch on with our Irish broadcasters and we’ll be getting Amanda Brunker reading Finnegans Wake. God knows, it couldn’t be as bad as Charity You’re A Star!.
Like I say, I don’t imagine I’m the target viewer for Nuts TV, and I can’t really see myself tuning in on a nightly basis. But presumably there is a market for this sort of thing, or at least a big enough market to sustain a small digital channel, or IPC wouldn’t be stumping up the money for it. The unanswered question is, whether the channel can sustain any level of interest. What I saw would be perfectly fine for a Friday Night Project-style post-pub show of maybe an hour in length. But a schedule of four hours per night, every night? I suppose it might wear thin for someone like me, but then your young lads with their carry-outs are a different proposition. Hey, somebody is keeping Babestation profitable.