Gamerweb TV
 
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A Little Backstory

So this bloke gets a load of money together and decides to start a TV channel.

Said bloke happens to own, or be affiliated with, a smallish telecoms company and decides to use premium rate text messages as a major revenue stream, knowing that the number of channels floating about on Sky at the time would have made it difficult to make money through advertising alone.

Said bloke defies medical science and gives birth to Friendly TV.

Friendly TV's gimmick is that the viewer would be able to text in to its live programmes (which would make up 15+ hours of broadcast time a day) and have some minor influence on the content of the programme, as had already proved highly profitable on the likes of BabeStation.

Said bloke also happens to own gamerweb.com- meaning that a brand for a videogames programme wasn't hard to come up with.

That Programme In Full

Gamerweb TV kicked off at 4PM on the day of the channel's launch and remained on, live, for two whole hours, presented by two blokes who used to write for gamerweb.com and some woman called Michelle who was on The Bill once (no, really) and openly admitted to not really knowing much about games, but was interested, immediately putting the programme five presenters up in comparison to its nearest rival.

The team had the foresight to pre-record some reviews, and so the daily programme revolved around them- fifteen minutes of banter over the text messages between presenter and viewer, quick look at a text poll, improvised rewording of a press release to stir up further discussion, prerecorded (and fairly literate) review, ad break, change presenter, repeat.

Later on, different presenters would be bought into the fold- most of whom would actually be knowledgeable on the subject of games- one of whom was the winner of the Sci-Fi channel's Ultimate Gamer contest- and the programme would take on a more anarchic template, mostly due an interesting philosophy of Showing Footage Of Games People Text In Asking To See, alongside "live" reviews, live game footage (with narration, obv) and live xBox Live games. Oh- and added a weekly text competition where the prize was to join the presenters in the studio on Friday's show.

The addition of a second on-screen presenter (when neither of them were their second female presenter who just didn't have a clue and talked down to the viewers, guests and her co-presenters) bought the programme a rapport similar to that of Baddiel and Skinner on Fantasy Football, and the gaming preferences of the presenters meant that many titles that wouldn't have appeared on Gamezville popped up, including a handful of (non-obscure) imports.

The success of the programme for Friendly lead to its length being upped by an hour a day, the programme being moved an hour later to catch prime time and a highlights show being shown on Saturdays, and at one stage a "club" was set up (read: a subscription service) for discount text messages.

The End

The programme was Friendly's longest running launch show managing about nine months. (probably due to being the only one not sued into oblivion by Hollywood)

It disappeared off the air after its viewership dropped off after a series of schedule changes (the show was at one stage upped to four hours but lost its Tuesday and Thursday shows as a result in lieu of a text gambling game), the presenters became overstretched and the director just stopped showing up, although the "official" word is that they were getting the texts in, but not the viewers.

People were put off as they couldn't see past the poor production values of the channel, or the unfortunate emphasis on wrestling titles (as per the text requests) and so one of the best programmes (or at least programme concepts) on the subject of games died forever. Congratulations, YOU BUNCH OF CYNICAL FUCKS.

Where Are They Now?

Friendly TV, like so many other independent channels, has disintegrated into a mish-mash of (allegedly) fixed phone-in games, Teleshopping and BabeStation clones, most simulcast with other smaller satellite channels.

Gamerweb's timeslot was, for a time, filled with Cybernet.

Somehow, the channel's owners managed to scratch together enough money to lauch a second channel, much in the same sub-par "theivery, teleshopping and tits" vein as Friendly.

Most of the presenters seem to have evaporated, presumably back to the modelling agencies Friendly hired them from, although one of them- Yannis- has been sighted floating about on equally (allegedly) fixed gambling channel Sky Vegas Live.
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Website (C) Mark Kelly 2002-5.

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