Monday, September 24, 2012

Robert Osborne's return

The New York Post reported the other day that Robert Osborne's time off from hosting is coming to an end. He'll be returning on October 1, although he won't be hosting quite as much as he used to: Ben Mankiewicz is going to be taking over on Fridays, as well as doing some of the prime time hosting on weekends as well.

Over on the TCM boards, there are some who seem to be taking an almost conspiratorial view of this. But really: Osborne is 80 years old, and has to commute from New York to Atlanta one week a month to fulfill his hosting duties. I don't know the exact details of how TCM does it, but it would make sense on each taping day to do three nights' worth of intros, followed by a break, and then three more night's worth of intros, which over five days would get the 30 nights needed for a month (the 31st night is the Guest Programmer, recorded separately). As a fan of game shows, I know that for decades, when there were still games shows on in network daytime, the shows would tape an entire week's worth of episodes on one day, with the break in the middle in order to keep the union crews from working too long in one session and getting overtime. A lof of that has changed since the debut of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, with a lot of the primetime gameshows having interminably long taping sessions as they tried ot get everything just right. (I'm going on an off-topic rant, although it's slightly relevant to Osborne in that he'd be more likely than the old-time game show hosts to have to do multiple takes if he's having difficulties with his lines. If you watch the 1980s-era Pyramid episodes on GSN, you'll see a lot of mistakes from Dick Clark that got left in because it was cheaper to do that than correct everything either with a second take or in post-production.) So if Osborne takes one week off, he won't be seen on TV for an entire month. Have him on air the equivalent of five nights a week, and you can either make each taping day shorter, or have him taping for only four days.

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