Revamping Morning Shows

Recently there was an article published online on why morning shows on Pakistani television are so horrible. From what the trend and high ratings show (god knows who decides the ratings) they have been on our screens to stay till the end of times. The divide is society is an interesting one. A lot of people hate these 9 to 11 shows while many more than ‘a lot’ are head over heels in love with everything about them.

Yes, these shows first thing in the morning are nauseating at times. They are way too loud and dramatic, almost echoing the prime time slot when the actual dramas go on air. Perhaps something light and subtle on the nerves would do the magic in terms of the style of hosts conducting the show. From how I see it, there are majorly two to three things as to why some of us see what is wrong with the morning shows- the number of morning shows, the lack of content and the lazy hosts.

Number one reason is the ‘number’ of morning shows that fill up the slot every single day on every single channel. The news channel of the same entertainment house will also have a pretty caked up celebrity doing the exact thing her colleague would be doing on the sister channel. When you have the same genre of shows on news, entertainment, cooking channels; one cannot expect to see much of a variety in the content of the shows. The plethora of shows means that there will be repetitiveness and there will be a feeling déjà vu again and again. How much content can you generate on a daily basis to attract the masses? Not to forget the same guests taking rounds on every channel. On average you would see Sahiba and Rambo as guests on one channel, then Sahiba appearing on another the very next day with her film star actor mother, and exactly two days later on her friend’s morning show. So there is excessive repetition of people on the shows.

The interesting thing is that this annoyance is only felt by the working men and women and not by the housewives or young women at home. Is it really so or do fans of these shows also find the shows to be superficial at times? Majority of the women really are big fans, they do not find any faults with these two hour long shows where celebrities are rather ineloquently talking away on issues that we could easily pass for. These issues which range from skin problems to weight gain, to bride to be’s dilemmas, to self grooming, to black magic and emotional outburst- well some of the things especially the DIYs and tootkas can now easily be followed on social media, Pinterest, Youtube and Dailymotion etc.

Majority of the middle aged housewives in Pakistan are not very internet pro; which means that accessing things online isn’t a daily routine for them. Whatever they watch on TV especially local channels is new to them. Whereas the more tech savvy or active social media users realize that the makeup techniques, the DIYs etc are all more or less picked up from the internet. Hence a few visits on these morning shows’ fan pages on FB reveal how much their audience loves them.

Coming back to the content of the shows, there are two aspects to it. The article referred to the misogynist producers and mindset, which are doing well at keeping women occupied with kitchen and clothes. I do agree with this. But part of the problem also lies with the hosts of these shows. Every morning show is being hosted by a known, successful and well liked celebrity/actress. It isn’t that they do not have a say when it comes to the content of the show. They have influence and aura enough to play a role in coming up with intelligent show content. However, it seems that most of them bask in the glory of being ‘working women’, balancing their married life but also ‘working very hard’. While they are busy enjoying getting all glam up for their morning shows, they are spending less time working on the content. The easy way is to invite people with dramatic stories of ‘saas bahu’ conflict, a black magic saga, designers with glittering clothes and jewelry, beauty experts, cooking experts, fitness experts, sometimes a religious and spiritual scholars, and last and definitely the least – the weddings on TV; all of these if you see are guests who will do the show themselves, they are the ones talking and providing all the content material while the host will add in her ‘oohhs’ and ‘aaahhs’ and a few tears. The emotions and tears must be genuine concerns on part of the show producers and hosts; the massive amount of same content makes the mornings seem like a drill, churning out money and glamour and fun time for the people on the screens only.

So what is the way out of these? Doesn’t seem like the trend and popularity for the morning shows are going to die out anytime soon. Also if anyone noticed that Geo Entertainment is bringing the pioneer of the morning show trend back Nadia Khan, could things change with that? Doubtful.

We accept it or not, as I mentioned before, there is audience out there who thoroughly enjoy what morning shows produce and they will not like it otherwise. Then there are potential audience who are off to work early or later till 9 am or so in the morning. They are the ones who seem to whine about the quality of content and rightly so but in voicing their dislike, in a way they look down upon the housewives and their intellect. Also a lot of men might be interested in watching some good TV content on weekends. Although there are a few shows on air on the weekends as well but their content, show pattern and topics discussed could be worked on. So why not start addressing the potential audience as well who want to enjoy a little something on TV other than the usual.

The way out of this is to reduce the number of morning shows and replace them with a bit serious content based programs. Instead of showcasing the same genre of morning shows on news channels as well, there is a need to restructure the pattern of the morning slots to set them apart from the entertainment based shows. It is easy to follow the examples of the morning shows on international news channels. Or we could turn a few pages back to the days of PTV’s morning shows that were done by the likes of Mustansar Husain Tarar. I m sure news channels will do rather well if their morning slots differ from their sister channels attracting a wide number of audience.

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