I'm Mad as Hell


and I can't do a thing about it

Disconnect with Mark Kelley

After far too many wasted hours in front of my television I can say, without any doubts, that Connect with Mark Kelley is the worst new current affairs show on TV. This program is two hours of non-news, old news, inane filler and just plain nonsense. Worse still, the attempts at humor are juvenile at best and completely flat most of the time.

Whose idea was it to do two hours every week night on the detritus left aside by every news program on CBCNN? What were they thinking? If the material is not strong enough for any newscast or current affairs program covering the other twenty-two hours of the day why take two hours of prime time and my time and fill it with this garbage?

One night in December they actually wasted our valuable time on such stories as the 25 worst Christmas album covers of all time. I know the only reason I buy CDs, or in the day, albums, is because of the cover art. On the same night they started a new segment with a doctor. One could call or email questions. What did they choose to talk about? The H1N1 panic that ended a full month before this night. There is even a segment called “Off the Radar.” On a show that’s off the radar they choose stories that are even more out in left field. Maybe they think two negatives will make a positive. That’s math not television production.

Look, I understand that current affairs producing is not easy. On a newscast a large percentage of the stories are obvious. They are newsy. They happened today. We argue about the line-up and the quality of the reporting but the choice of stories is seldom an issue. On a current affairs program it is not so obvious. The choices are the same but you only get to choose a few of the stories for discussion or reporting. Great current affairs shows have the ability to understand and even exploit the mood of the public. 60 Minutes, Nightline (when it was hosted by Ted Koppel), Newshour on PBS; all these shows choose important, interesting or engaging stories, stories that the audience is likely to be interested in. None of them go out of their way to choose stories that few people, if any, care about in the least. Duh!

More important still is the fact that the most successful shows on television are programs that the viewing audience has a feel for. When you tune in to 60 Minutes you know the kind of stories and reporting you are going to get: a celebrity profile, a look behind a major news story, a scam that is cheating either the government or a lot of viewers. When you tune to Newshour you know you will hear about the latest goings on in Washington, important economic news and major stories that affect the United States.
It’s easy for me, as a viewer to choose to watch or not because I know what to expect. Oh, and as a TV producer  or researcher, it is easy for me to find stories because I know what I’m looking for. I know the kinds of stories my bosses and the audience want and expect.

So how does it work at Connect? Do the producers sit around and wait to see what nobody else uses? Do they choose only stories they themselves do not care about? How do you fill two hours when you can’t pick up interesting and important stories?

From what I hear from inside the CBC it is no joke. The staff of Connect with Mark Kelley are seriously unhappy and looking for ways off the show. They don’t feel like they understand the program and they are not certain what Mark Kelley wants or is even trying to do with his show. Yes there are even grumbles coming from management, but so far, like all the other bad decisions at the CBC they are being swept under the rug. There is so much under that rug at CBC headquarters that it must be getting very difficult to walk the halls.

The whole thing is an exercise in bad programming and poor management. I’m told Connect is based on an idea that Mark Kelley came up with. Didn’t anyone running CBCNN look at his idea? Did anyone question the content? CBCNN is, after all, supposed to be a news channel.

Connect is not the only bad show on CBCNN but it is so awful it makes the other offerings look good by comparison. The time has come for CBC brass to put an end to this fiasco. Mark Kelley will survive. He’s an engaging host with a bad idea. Come up with a better idea. Produce him. Don’t throw away two hours of prime air time. Don’t make the audience pine for the good old days of Antiques Road Show.


Filed under: Media Commentary, , , , , , ,

11 Responses

  1. […] I think Mark Kelley is an engaging host and reporter so I am writing this article in response to this rather negative entry/repost about the show at inside the cbc which originated from here. […]

  2. cathy says:

    I think Mark Kelley can be an engaging host and reporter as well, but this show is damaging to his reputation. It’s a turd. No other way to put it. I don’t know what brainy person thought it was a great idea to trap Kelley, known for his field stories, behind a desk. He looks uncomfortable at the best of times.

    Or, better yet, who thought viewers would tune in to a “current affairs show” (I’m using that lightly) for two hours/five days a week. Perhaps, the network is hoping they’ll catch people channel surfing. That’s a funny way to run a show: least objectionable programming. Here’s a thought: How about creating destination television? The Fifth Estate does that extremely well and it continues to be rewarded with high ratings. I agree, this random assortment [or sloppy mess] of news(?) stories means the viewers never know what to expect. The stories and interviews seem amateur. Whatever happened to the depth of talent? Or it’s reputation for indepth storytelling?

  3. jameswicks says:

    Howard, it seems from your posts that CBC is swimming against the current in Current Affairs. As I’ve said before, what business does the government have in being in business?
    If the CBC were not a state-run business, but privately owned, could it compete?
    The answer has been, and remains, no.

    The CBC’s only advertising slogan should be: “Your tax dollars at work – or, not.”


  4. Qas says:

    The reason I landed on this site is exactly on you wrote. I watch his show and I figured something is really wrong with this guy! I googled him i find this.

    to say the list, this show SUCKs and the Host stinks. What were they thinking. 2 hrs of this crap? I would rather watch CNN’s Campbell Brown.

  5. Sammy says:

    This show is painful to watch but there is a lack of good Canadian content on Canadian networks. Mark Kelley tries to talk to regular people, but no one cares who he talks to because his material is covered in the national by Susan Ormiston.
    At the end he always has his disconnect, and he tries to get on the “correct” side of public opinion. Yet he always back away from the controversial topics, like abortion, the pure blood monarchy or even the hijab. Mark Kelley used to be a good journalist but he doesn’t deserve his own program if he keeps doing this. 99% of the material he covers is done in the 2 hour Power and Politics, which is slightly better. This show was cut down from 2 hours to 1 hour to hopefully cancelled…
    I connected with Mark Kelley and I got burned.

  6. jim says:

    I have written cbc 3 times about this horrible show. Its an embarrassment. Hes an absolute idiot as is the sidekick he is having an affair with. George s was or is an idiot too but at least he interviewed interesting people. The executive at cbc who hired this moron and the one wbo slotted into this show should be fired….

  7. Ned says:

    I think Connect with Mark Kelley is probably one of the smartest show on TV. The Show is completely different than when you reviewed it. They take the stories of the day to the personal level. When the show is live on location Mark is totally in his element. I saw that Mark even won a Gemini for Best Host. Howard, you should look at this show again.

  8. Marie-Therese Spindler says:

    Dear Mark: I enjoy many aspects of your show but tonight’s mentioning of Mr. Harper’s nude picture is totally in bad taste.

  9. LINDA SNOW says:


  10. dan allen says:

    just when the cbc had drawn me back in,they cancel the connect show.good bye again

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: