Friday, January 28, 2011

Fitting 20 lbs in a 5 lb bag…

Last Sunday (January 23rd) was the day for the broadcast of the Eukanuba National Championship and the Eukanuba World Challenge. I was wondering how they were going to cram so much of this two day event into a 2 hour TV show, so I'll use this blog post to break it down for you.

If you've been following my blog or Jennifer's blog over the past couple of months, you'll know that the event was two evenings long. And it was interesting how they made subtle changes to the ring and the surrounding areas (such as the bloggers table, the signage, etc) between the two nights. But only now did I realize why they did it that way. During the show, they're making it appear that there are two separate rings - very nice way to do it. The ring with the Rhodamine (that's the official Eukanuba Pink color) runway is described as the "Eukanuba Ring", while the full blue arena is the "AKC Ring"

Of course, any show that is recorded can be edited for content, and at this particular event there were a couple of handlers that fell either bringing their dogs into the ring (the winner of the Breeders Stakes with her Doberman actually hurt herself and had to be replaced for the balance of the World Challenge) or after they won their breed (the handler of the whippet jumped up on the winners circle after she won, only to loose her footing and taking a dive - luckily only hurting her pride). But in this case it also allowed for the broadcast of more detail into what the judges are looking for, and some great candid shots of how loved these dogs are.

I enjoyed the mix between Todd Grisham and Gina DiNardo. If I had any complains, I would say that some of the conversations felt "forced" or "read." But one of the benefits of having someone who knows and understands dogs and confirmation the way Gina does is giving credibility to the information she's presenting. It was great the way dogs were displayed with descriptions of what the judges look for. For the typical person who loves dogs but knows nothing about dog shows, that was a huge help.
I was glad to see the special segments such as the ACE awards - a group of very special dogs working as service or therapy dogs, the junior handlers, "Meet The Breeds" segment, and "Best Bread By Exhibitor to name just a few. And they took some time to show the dogs and handlers having fun or relaxing - a very nice touch. And it was also nice that they showed some of the "qualifying" competition held in the convention center earlier in the day. I wish they would have shown the obedience winner - there were a few seconds of that segment shown, but the entire demonstration was REALLY cool.

After the show, facebook lit up with terrible reviews, but you could tell these people were more in tune with the dog show world. From someone who has studied media and the "short attention spans" of a typical audience, I understand why the show was split up the way it was. It's so hard to balance the desires of a small segment of the audience (dog show people) with the general public. But the constant shifting between "rings" kept everything moving - that's what you need to keep the average Jane or Joe watching.

So at the end of the day, I was impressed with the way the National Championship was put together for TV. Well done AKC and Eukanuba! Hopefully next year, Jen and I can be a little closer to the action with either Hank, Ivy or Izy. :)

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