Once Normality Returns, Why Not Have Audiences For TV News?

The TV laugh track has never really gone away. Maybe we all need more real-time engagement with content.

You still hear laugh-tracks on cable TV shows -- especially on-set reality shows looking for some funny stuff, or those Disney Channel teen studio kids shows.

Still, much of this has stopped, shifted a generation ago when TV networks moved to slickly produced one-camera, on-location comedies -- and thus no studio audience, no laughter. Today, there are fewer in-studio three-camera comedies.  

Now -- in the wake of COVID-19 -- we are poised to get some “sweetened” visuals -- especially when it comes to sports. We speak of cardboard replacements of fans in stands when it comes to live sports returning soon. The NBA is starting July 31; the NHL and possibly Major League Baseball around the same time.

Some of this is already apparent in European football matches, as well as the KBO -- the Korea Baseball Organization. But it's more of an inside-joke thing for commentators and producing teams.



Take the KBO baseball teams -- which are now transitioning to putting stuffed animals in the stands. (Or sex dolls, according to reports. Wha..?) 

Perhaps other kinds of audio might be included: One sports-technology firm is pushing in-stadium crowd noise with participating at-home fans audio -- all to give a more realistic feel to a TV presentation.

Hmmm.. It might be better to have at-home fan tweets displayed on the scoreboard and via big screens in the stands (or on TV), showing players how fans are really feeling. Only appropriately brand-safe constructed comments, of course.

We have already been subjected to late-night and daytime talk shows without sounds and visuals of studio audiences, an aseptic presentation of a once real-time interaction.

Let’s go to the next step. When things get back to normal, we should expand some things for certain TV genres.

We need live, in-studio audiences for all kinds of evening news stories -- general, business, sports, and even the weather. In the past, during WWII, movie theaters would play newsreels to big theater crowds before screening a film.

More studio audiences would diffuse, perhaps democratized, issues TV consumers may be having with many opinion-laden TV newcasts. Audience can lustily boo or cheer Third World uprisings that look to replace autocratic rule.

Maybe even the weather would deserve some response: “Our forecast today is that Hurricane Geraldo is about to hit the Gulf Coast,” a future weathercaster may warn. “Ooooh!” would be the audience's cry.

Who needs old-school social media anyway?

2 comments about "Once Normality Returns, Why Not Have Audiences For TV News?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 10, 2020 at 7:19 a.m.

    Wayne, I know how though it is to crank out one article after another---but I think you are scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one---if you are even partly serious in your suggestion. Then, again, maybe a live audience for a medical drama or a sci-fi epic---or an "edgy" show like "Game Of Thrones" would really add some depth---as well as chaos---- to the viewing exp[erience. Humm----food for thought?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 10, 2020 at 8:58 p.m.

    Do you want a news show or a fight show ? let's not get stupid.

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