CITY PRESS REVIEW: E!’s exercise is off the mark

2017-02-19 06:01

Johannesburg - TV-presenter searches played out on South African TV have been done before – and much better than E!’s oddly cheap new show. Several things make The Search: E! Host SA look incredibly amateurish in comparison to what SABC3 and Top Billing did previously with their presenter searches.

The show doesn’t look as if NBC Universal International Networks gave producers Urban Brew enough money or time to film. There’s a noticeable lack of scenery, appropriate backdrops and actual set design. A “real” E! show isn’t going to make contestants vying for a TV presenter job line up on cold, hard tiles.

Gawd, where is just some type of a carpet? You’d think that that would be the first crucial production element worked into a show like this, instead of unnecessary Cell C product placement deals.

Why are the contestants cloistered in a Pretoria-looking mansion with dated décor?

Why are some shots out of focus? Because there wasn’t time or budget for do-overs? Why is the poor sound different during various segments, like when contestants interview to camera?

The expectation was – is – that E!’s show would be better than what Top Billing has done several times. Sadly, it looks like E! has wasted a big opportunity to do a glitz version of showing how the red carpet factory works and how presenters are found and made.

The majority of the “challenges” on The Search are hokey and fake.

So far, only one has had real-life bearing, where contestants had to interview a “difficult” star. All the others are devoid of reality and accuracy in the real world with regards to how celebrity interviews are organised and red carpet coverage is executed.

Wannabe presenters are, for instance, asked to name, then call, “the biggest celebrity” whose number they have on their phones. In the real world, star-chasers don’t call the numbers of celebs or yell their names next to the red carpet to come over – they know and call the ones who control the star: the publicist.

Why this bamboozled E! presentation when it’s possible to show the real wizards of E! at work behind the scenes?

Why is there no unified colour scheme? Why is Terry Pheto directed to be so stilted as a judge? What’s wrong with the lighting and why is everything so underlit and dark?

It’s praiseworthy that E! wants to do more local content. Also that they’re looking to create a local E! presence.

But this is the wrong way to do it. Instead of growing brand aspirations, watching The Search is inducing head-scratching.

Is it too much to ask to have an actual E! personality in the flesh as a presenter or judge?

Can’t they hire an open-plan, glass-steel mansion in Durban or Cape Town – like every Nigerian music video crew is doing – to up the glam factor?

Catch The Search: E! Host South Africa Wednesdays at 20:55 on E!(DStv 124)

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