If you were at home of an early afternoon, say around 2pm, what would you watch? I'm talking live TV now, no ondemand stuff. It's slim pickings. That post-lunch crash you get after a sarnie seems to apply to the television schedules too. The meaty stuff like BBC's Daily Politics and the news programmes have finished and the mid-morning voyeurism The Jeremy Kyle Show provides is long gone. Instead, you get doddery crime dramas, reality TV repeats and game shows (Deal or No Deal doesn't quite have the same draw it did in the university days).
This week, ITV2 offered up its version of a cuppa and a Twix, in the form of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The channel has acquired the rights to the award-winning US offering, a potent mix of A-list guests, comedy skits, music and human-interest stories. It will begin airing this Monday.
If British viewers haven't seen a full-length episode before, they might well have watched snaps of it online. Memorable clips include Ellen dancing with Barrack Obama; doing push-ups with Michelle O; getting David Beckham to prank a masseuse and a lot of Justin Bieber. There's the same sycophantic style you'll recognise from our own evening chat shows (I'm talking to you, Jonathan Ross) but coupled with a large dose of DeGeneres' warmth and charisma. This is her show, make no mistake, the guests are just her props - with some serious messages thrown in the mix. It makes for feel-good TV that's thoughtful when required.
DeGeneres is a vocal advocate of equal rights for all (she's been married to actress Portia de Rossi since 2008), and is not afraid to air her own partisan views. This week, she had Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the sofa for the second time in four months. During the interview DeGeneres gushed: "I think you stand for everything I want in a president". The pair later did a dance skit together. Can you imagine Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, for that matter, doing that?
The ITV episodes will lag up to 10 days behind the US, so some viewers might have already seen the Clinton stuff online but there's the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ricky Gervais and Matt Damon up next. While there won't be exclusive British material per se, DeGeneres is acknowledging her new audience. "Today is the first day we're airing on ITV2 in Great Britain," she says in a pre-recorded message to viewers in Blighty. "And now it's only a matter of time before we're on in England." You might have to do better than that with the jokes, Elly, but we'll give you a chance to save afternoon viewers from repeats of Four In A Bed.Reuse content