An analysis of television chat shows Essay
An analysis of television chat shows
Television chat shows are probably the favourite genre of the majority of daytime viewers, with the schedule full to bursting point with them, there are few channels that show fewer than two chat shows on a daily basis. There are few times when you can switch on your television and the screen not be filled with the smiling faces of a chat show host and his guests. There are a wide range of chat show styles but they all conform to the same basic conventions. The conventions are that the host is famous and often comes from a journalistic background and their show is named after them.
The guests are famous people and come on to the shows to promote themselves etc. the set is basic with just a few chairs and sometimes a table and also there is an audience who are in the studio watching the show live. In the traditional style chat shows these conventions are followed as if they were law. In the newer forms of chat shows these rules aren’t followed as closely. Although they have a host, guest and audience there set is not basic and is full of props such as computers and fake plants to add effect.
The purpose of this assignment is to analyse and explore a traditional chat show in the style of ‘Parkinson’ and a ‘new-age’ style chat show in the form of ‘Friday Nights All Wright’ Michael Parkinson is assuredly the finest example of a traditional British television chat show host. His show ‘Parkinson’ is well respected, highly respective and conservative and is produced by the B. B. C. his reputation exceeds him and this is echoed by the shows status. The way that Parkinson dresses also reflects the style and status of the show. As well as the dress code of the show, the title sequence is also very sophisticated.
The title sequence is an integral part of the show because it is the first thing that is seen by the viewers, so it will have to display the style and reputation of the show as well as appeal to the more mature viewers which is the shows intended audience. The title sequence for ‘Parkinson’ consists of numerous still shots of previous guests such as Billy connel1y and Heather Mills-McCartney smiling and looking relaxed and comfortable. Some of the shots are posed but the majority look as if they were taken during the show, this gives the audience the idea the guests are normal people and that the show is in a very relaxing environment.
As the title sequence comes to an end we are presented with a montage of celebrities faces which them form a real still shot of Parkinson’s face and this then goes in to a dissolve and into the show. The music used to accompany the opening title sequence is classy, cheerful and has a big band feeling, which I think would appeal to the viewers of the show because generally the people who watch the B. B. C are from the older generation and are therefore more conservative than the viewers of I. T. V. Parkinson’s entrance is stylish and grand.
He enters at the top of a staircase to the theme music from the show and walks slowly to his seat; this grand entrance is a convention of a typical television chat show. It is at this point that it becomes clear who is in charge of the show. Compared with this grand entrance the entrances of Parkinson’s guests are mediocre. Elton john entrance is from the side of the stage probably because he had just been performing his latest song. When Parkinson introduces Elton john he is full of compliments and the language he uses is full of flattery. He refers to Elton john as ‘a superstar of Rock and Roll’ and ‘lately ennobled’.
This may be used to make Elton feel relaxed and confident. He uses these phrases so that the audience will have to guess who the guest is and this will help to create suspense amongst the audience because he does not mention his guests name until the end of his monologue. After Elton takes his seat his body language is quite defensive with his hands clenched together and he doesn’t look straight at his interviewer. Parkinson’s body language shows that he is confident and open and I also think it shows he is experienced. He sits with a straight back and his hands are open palms up on his lap.
Parkinson’s opening question to Elton is ‘what’s up’ I think this simple question is used to direct the interviewee to the reason for his appearance on the show. It also shows that although Parkinson uses formal language his language can also include some Yorkshire dialect. Elton John answers politely and hints at why he is on the show. The body language of Parkinson is open and appealing, this is so that the guest will feel relaxed in his company and will answer his questions more openly. Elton’s body language shows that e is defensive and doesn’t want to reveal too much to his host.
The style of questioning used by Parkinson is set so that it would help Elton to open up and become more confident in the answers he gives. Although the questions were probably agreed before the show they will still tell the audience what they want to know about the guest. Elton Johns appearance on the show in terms of his reasons for being on the programme fulfil the conventions of a chat show because he is on the show to promote something that he is doing at the moment in his career and one of the conventions of a chat show is that the guest in famous and appears on the show to promote there career.
The set for the show is simple yet sophisticated. It has a pale blue background which is used to relax the interviewee and it gives the studio a modern look. Also there is a hint of pink which would make the studio warm and homely. The guest and host sit close together separated only by a small table. The guests who had appeared earlier on in the show sit further away from the host but they are still quite close. There are probably four cameras used to film this show. One camera will cover both host and guest, this would be used when the host is asking a question.
Two cameras would cover the host and his guest individually, these cameras would be used to show the person who is speaking. The final camera is used to cover all four people that are on the stage. Most of the cameras are fixed and would just cut from shot to shot throughout the show. When the guest is speaking they would use a big close-up to show their facial expressions and emotions. The audience only participate in the show when a guest or the host enters onto the stage or when a guest finishes a performance.
Ian Wright is a light weight chat show host when compared with Parkinson. His show ‘Friday nights all Wright’ is not as well known as ‘Parkinson’ and it is targeted towards the younger generation viewers. It is not a very conservative show which is a characteristic of the house style of I. T. V 1 which is not a conservative channel. His reputation as a chat show host is limited but his reputation as a footballer is legendary. Ian Wright’s dress code reflects the style of the show. He is wearing a black short sleeved t-shirt and imitation leather pants.
The style of the show is also tacky compared to the sophisticated ‘Parkinson’. In the clip Ian Wright comes onto the show to loud music, this music is similar to the type of music played in night clubs and it gives the impression that this show is modern. Prince Naseem enters onto the stage accompanied by the same loud music played when he enters the boxing ring. He goes straight to Ian Wright and ‘high-fives’ him and then he goes into the audience and interacts with them. He walks through the audience and plays up to them and shakes hands with them.
When he returns to the stage he once again high fives Wright. When he takes his seat naseem sits with his arms open wide, this show that he is confident and cocky. The opening question asked by Ian Wright is ‘so why did it take you so long to get in the ring? ‘ he uses this question as a joke to make naseem feel at home. He also adds ‘talk to me’ in a Jamaican accent to make the audience laugh. The language used throughout the show is slang and it is not very sophisticated and this echoes the style of the show.
The set is cheap and simple with a fake brick wall background to give a feel of the inside of a house and there is a mural of the country side on another wall which I think is supposed to give a calming and relaxing effect. The host sits on a simple purple leather chair with a table with a C. C. T. V screen on top of it. Then there is another simple purple sofa for the guest to sit on. There are two steps down from the stage and in this area the audience sit in groups on simple chairs around small tables as if they were in a pub or night club.
In the corner of the studio there is a cage containing football fans. I think that there are probably three cameras, the first is at the back of the studio and is used to show the guest, host and audience together and the second and third cameras are used so that both the host and guest have individual shots when they are speaking. The audience participate more in this show than in ‘Parkinson’ because they shake hands with the guest when he enters and also they laugh a lot more than in Parkinson and the laughing is not forced as it often is in Parkinson.
The most effect of these two chat shows is probably ‘Parkinson’ because it will appeal to a wider audience than ‘Friday nights all Wright’ and also the guest will be more sophisticated and well known than those on Ian Wrights show. Out of the two chat shows I think I prefer ‘Parkinson’ because there is a wider range of guests and the guests are often in the news at the time so I like to hear there views on current affairs.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 5 July 2017
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