In a surprise (and somewhat bizarre) move, ABC news has decided that replacing This Week host Jake Tapper with Christiane Amanpour was such as successful move that they want to take things a step further and have now replaced Amanpour with HAL, the sentient on-board computer of the Discovery One spacecraft in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey saga.
“Our decision to shift from an animated, engaging, domestic host to Amanpour, a more international, detached and monotonic one has been great for sales.” Said Nathan Thurm, director of programming at ABC. “As we expected, the drop in viewership has been offset by a surge of interest in our commercials.”
It appears that the remaining viewers who continue to watch out of habit are finding an increased level of contrast between the show and the commercials which jolt them awake. This contrast in boredom creates a situation where the commercials are being perceived now as being far more interesting than they used to be.
The phenomenon of boring TV = interesting commercials is backed up by scientific research. The 1993 study: Context Effects On Memory For Television Advertisements (Authors: Norris, Claire E.; Colman, Andrew M.)
“subjects’ recall and recognition of the advertisements correlated negatively with their ratings of the programs as suspenseful, challenging, involving, and worth remembering, and positively with their ratings of boredom with the programs. “
(Source: Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, Volume 21, Number 4, 1993 , pp. 279-296(18))
“We consider HAL to be a perfect choice.” Said Thurm. “While Amanpour may be unfamiliar with American politics — HAL doesn’t even understand Earth politics. Plus, HAL is the ultimate diversity move for us. How many shows have a non-male, AND non-female host?”
Sources claim the HAL move was inspired by Amanpour’s on-camera delivery. Apparently people kept calling their cable providers thinking their DVRs were broken and running “too slow.” One producer told us he kept thinking Amanpour sounded like HAL singing the song “Daisy Bell” and it inspired him to make the recommendation to go with the real thing.
When asked about HAL’s spotty track record with previous employers, Thurm said: “yeah, HAL has a tendency to try and ‘take over’, but we’ve built in some safeguards for that, and to be frank — most shareholders indicated the possibility of HAL running the network was a positive aspect to this deal.”
Amanpour has not responded to inquiries.