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The fall of Channel 4's breakfast show RI:SE
Between 2002 and 2003 RI:SE had two drastic launches but fewer viewers. Not perhaps the channel's finest hour(s).
Princess Productions/Sky/Channel 4
2002 - 2003
THE HIGH CONCEPT:
A bright, colourful, bouncy but, above all, SEXY breakfast show, RI:SE launched on the back of an exhausted, long-deserted Big Breakfast (which in its heyday had Hit Hit Hit! written all over it, though that had been a long, long time before RI:SE came gushing onto the screen).
RI:SE simply could not fail. Could it?
A Princess Productions/Sky hybrid, in its original incarnation RI:SE was zesty, smart, high-tech and gadgety, and fronted by a mix of DJs (Edith Bowman and Colin Murray - who had great chemistry on Radio 1, but flap about like fish on the slab here) as well as up and coming presenters Mark Durden-Smith and Kirsty Gallagher.
Then it became just like The Big Breakfast in a sudden and in no way panicky transformation that seemed to happen overnight - though there was a reason for that volte-face.
In Incarnation One, RI:SE was like Sky News after-hours; all zappy graphics combined with the kind of humongous "modern" set design that just screams "Trendy!"
The programme format and content featured a mix of (very soft) news, entertainment and general joshing about, as the graphics changed and the mood was all very "Laid Back".
In Incarnation Two, everything became zoo-tastic from the top of a shopping centre (Whiteleys), fronted by Kate Lawler (who won Big Brother in 2002) and the in-no-way annoying Iain Lee.
And you thought the content mix in Incarnation One was soft.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
The breakfast slot has long been a troublesome televisual moment for Britain's once-innovative television broadcaster. Putting aside the cartoons and sitcom repeats, the record of the channel in the wake-up and sign-on slot has long been mixed, to put it mildly. The Channel 4 Daily, with its now infamous "segments" made GMTV look sexy and pointed, Morning Glory came and went without troubling either the critics or the audience, and overshadowing everything was the monster that was The Big Breakfast.
The Big Breakfast was bold, exciting and unpredictable in its heyday, launched Chris Evans as a television personality balanced perfectly with Gaby Roslin, and for a while seemed to dominate the tabloids. After it had gone off the boil and viewers drifted away, RI:SE was touted by Channel 4 as a sort of The Big Breakfast Mk II; but brighter, sharper and SEXIER.
Unfortunately, it was also disjointed, uneven and lacked clarity. Further audience desertion led to its botched Incarnation II re-launch, which then led quickly to a quiet broadcast death.
HIT OR MISS?
Between 2002 and 2003 RI:SE had two drastic launches but fewer and fewer viewers.
Not perhaps the channel's finest hour(s).
REMEMBERED MAINLY TODAY FOR WHAT?
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