Let’s all hope The Exclusives is less shit than its trailer

In January, ITV2 put out a press release about an exciting journalism reality show. Due to being worryingly behind in my reading of ITV’s online press centre, I only heard about it today via Tom Chivers on Twitter. Here’s a bit to give you an idea of what they were promising:

ITV2 has commissioned production company Twofour to produce The Exclusives, an exciting new seven-part series which offers an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity for six young, ambitious, wannabe entertainment writers to work for publishing giant Bauer Media.

Millions of us scour the celebrity pages to get our weekly fix of glamour, celebrity news and music.  Now you can not only read these stories in magazines but live and breathe them on ITV2 when six creative, wannabe reporters compete for a highly-prized 12-month contract with one of Europe’s largest magazine publishers.

Each trainee will learn to hone their skills working closely with the hugely successful teams behind some of the UK’s best known magazines including heat, Empire, FHM, Closer, more!, Kerrang! 

A nationwide search will be mounted to find six phenomenal candidates who dream of becoming a hotshot reporter and get a foot in the door at these top magazines to experience the world of fame, fashion, movies and music.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? What a brilliant opportunity for an ambitious, talented person to get their foot in the door of one of the most competitive industries IN THE WORLD.

Now look at the total numpties they picked to take part.

I imagine the poor sods will have been put through a fairly extensive idiot filter for the trailer as they can’t possibly all be that awful. (Journalist Scott Bryan who filmed the trailer as it’s not yet online, sums it up with the look of one encountering the end of all things, and a succinct  “Jesus. Jesus Christ.”

On the one hand such awfulness is all fine. There is little more terrifying or un-telegenic than a really, really earnest journalism fan. It’s an ITV2 reality show; the trailer indicates TOWIE with subbing. But on the other, if the people on the show aren’t really keen in working their way into the industry, it’s not really fine at all.

Before Bauer bought out Empire, Kerrang! Heat et al, they were owned by Emap who ran a talent scholarship programme for aspiring journalists. In 2005, I beat 700 people to win the one at Empire, which proved to be one of the most terrifying, useful and amazing  experiences I had ever had, and probably will ever have.

That competition was an amazing opportunity for me: in a pre-Twitter world I didn’t have brilliant contacts, and I was also mortifyingly unself-confident. I was lucky enough to be working at the BBC, but getting the chance to work for a magazine I’d read for seven years was like a lephrechaun showing me a rainbow and saying, “Just for today, Kat, the rainbow ends in Soho, there is actually a pot of gold there and it’s got your name on it.”

The winner gets a 12-month contract at Bauer (presumably on a magazine, although all the lolz if it’s actually in the finance department). I know they’ve got to have some characters on the show, but there are plenty of mad, bad and bonkers ones in journalism; there’s no need to import ones who – the trailer gives this impression, let’s hope wrongly – don’t have a clue about what’s involved despite claiming to really want it. I hope they have brains and ambition to back up their “colourful personalities”.

On the bright side, there’s a whole episode set in the Empire office! I can’t wait for the bit where the news editor sends one of them off to the Rainforest Cafe to ask diners if they can identify the Christian cross and the Superman sign 😉


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