The Word Podcast, which is getting better and better, by the way, had a roaringly good discussion about TV.
Norfolk blogger Norfolk n Good sums it up perfectly:
There is a brilliant discussion of this topic on the Word Podcast 98 called "Monkey Tennis" after the ludicrous suggestions by Alan Partridge for new TV vehicles. A real life TV Producer Aris Roussinos (aged 27) joins the discussion of how pitches are made to the main commissioning stations these days and admits that the whole sordid process starts (and normally ends) with a title. The title is everything and the programme content very much secondary, whether it is "Ten Years Younger", "The Sex Inspectors", "F*k Off I'm Fat" or "The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off" - apparently we as modern viewers are so shallow that we will only watch something with a catchy title.
Roussinos lets us in on the fact thet "nobody watched Living TV's series on a midget psychic but its title meant that the commissioners snatched it up immediately". It was called "Small Medium at Large". He is currently still touting his own series exposing the gay Taliban under the title "Suicide Bummers".
Superb. Absolutely brilliant. He goes on.
Apart from the title, the next key thing is, apparently, the presenter. The secret is to gain the services of a middle aged comedian who tours somewhere, anywhere, on some sort of personal soul-searching quest, preferably in an eccentric or vintage form of transport. If you can add a sense of jeopardy ("and he has just three days to do it!") and is able to break down in tears at least once an episode you are almost home and dry. No matter that most middle aged comedians are less than hilarious without a team of script writers.
When I worked in telly there was NOTHING that some people wouldn't do to get a show made. The ideas I heard touted around and the level of BS was something to behold.
Which is why we're in the state we're in. Utter rubbish on most of the time.