Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New "TV Book Club" in U.K.

BBC4 pulled the plug on Richard and Judy a while back and that had to be bad news for publishers, authors and booksellers in the U.K. because it also meant that the Richard and Judy Book Club would no longer have access to its large BBC audience. Richard and Judy may not have have sold books in Oprah- style numbers but the show did create its share of U.K. bestsellers, so lots of people took a hit when the show ended.

Now, in a bit of good news for U.K. book people, British producer Amanda Ross has announced the first picks for her new "TV Book Club." The complete article may be found here at The Los Angeles Times website:
Called the Simon Cowell of publishing, Ross was the woman behind Richard and Judy's book club. For years, the popular talk show "Richard & Judy" -- or "chat show," as they say in the UK -- included, among its many topics, a book club. Like Oprah Winfrey's book selections, Richard and Judy's picks could turn quiet books into mega-bestsellers. At its height, the Richard and Judy Book Club accounted for 26% of the 100 bestsellers in the UK.
[...]
Though Richard and Judy have continued their show elsewhere, it hasn't had the same profile. And Ross has embarked on a new venture, the upcoming "TV Book Club," a show that promises to talk about books on TV. Ten books were announced for 2010, featuring Abraham Verghese's "Cutting for Stone."
[...]
Verghese's book is joined by Nick Hornby's "Juliet, Naked," "The Little Stranger" by Sarah Waters and George Pelecanos' "The Way Home," among others, in the first roster of the new show. But it remains to be seen whether British readers/viewers will embrace Ross' new show -- will the not-yet unveiled format, which promises new hosts and visiting comedians -- make a show dedicated to books a success?
This sounds like fun and I wish there were a way it could be made available to U.S. viewers via the internet (wishful thinking, I know). Am I the only one wishing that our own Book TV would feature fiction as well as nonfiction books? There are some weekends during which I am just not in the mood for another bunch of political books, biographies, and histories. I suppose that is just more wishful thinking but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why fiction has been banned by Book TV.

11 comments:

  1. Sam, I wrote to Book TV many times about including fiction and not only did my suggestions do no good, no one ever had the courtesy to respond to me!

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  2. Sam, "The Book Group" WAS on here in the U.S., on Ovation TV, last night from 8-9 EST, repeated at midnight.

    If you look at this link, you can read about the show AND see if the network is carried in your area.

    http://ovationtv.com/

    The show was so-so. Not much talk about books, some sexual humor and double entendre.

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  3. Did I read that book because of you? If so, thank you. It was excellent. I went on to read his other books and now I'm sad because I have run out. I have also read all three of the Dragon Tattoo books and there will be no more because the writer is dead. At least Verghese is still alive.

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  4. I was thinking about sending them an email myself, JoAnn...doesn't sound like they much care, though. I've spoken with their reps at a couple of book festivals but I always forget to ask why the ban on fiction. I'll try to remember to ask next time.

    It does sound as if this new show is not purely a "book show." That could doom it...or save it. Who knows?

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  5. Factotum, actually, I think YOU recommended the book to me. Believe it or not, the Harris County Library System still didn't have it on the shelves last time I checked. I need to do another search.

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  6. Sam, I feel like a dunce and have seriously mis-led you. The show on Ovation TV is called THE BOOK GROUP and it is a comedy. It is not a book discussion show like the one Amanda Ross is doing.

    Sorry about that!

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  7. I've wondered and despaired about the lack of fiction on BookTV as well.

    Watched The Book Group on Ovation. I'll keep watching, though the emphasis is less on books than I expected.

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  8. No harm done, JoAnn, and, in the process, I learned about another new show I had never heard of...so thanks.

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  9. Michelle, I wonder if anyone has ever tried to organize a "mass" request for BookTV to add fiction to their coverage? It seems a bit snobbish to me that they ignore fiction writers and readers.

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  10. Cutting for Stone was my favorite book of 2009.

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  11. It's being held at the library for me right now - should be picking it up on Sunday and I'm looking forward to it after hearing so many people speak so highly of it.

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