Unusually, because I usually agree with the excellent writing of City Unslicker, I disagree with the thrust of his story today about why ITV are failing.
He asserts that ITV cannot compete with the BBC's licence fee subsidising the payment of big stars and that the BBC steals ITV's best ideas.
Actually, he could not be more wrong on the second point.
Take any BBC innovation in recent years and ITV have stolen it, renamed it, and generally made a crapper less interesting and much more shallow copy.
Just turning on ITV today brings up Jeremy Kyle (need I remind people that Kilroy was making this sort of show on the BBC nearly 20 years ago), Daily Cooks Challenge (Ready Steady Cook was out on the BBC 14 years ago), Golden Balls (a show where contestants "vote off" other contestants like the BBC's Weakest Link) and there are many, many more examples.
The truth of it is that the BBC is actually much more cutting edge than ITV. ITV have lost the desire to win new audiences because there is a risk that there may not be enough viewers to get the ads in, so it plays safe to a shrinking audience.
Would we have ever seen The Office coming from ITV ? What about Little Britain or Gavin and Stacey ? We all know that there is not a cat in hell's chance of ITV making a show like them because making another series of Heartbeat or Lewis will bring in more guaranteed cash.
As for the idea that the BBC buys up all the big stars, yes they do pay big wages (too big) to certain people, but would Jonathan Ross be making the shows he does for the BBC on ITV ? His series on BBC3 about all things Japanese was interesting and showed a real insight in to Japan that I would never expect to see from ITV. I'm not Jonathan Ross' greatest fan, but let's face it, he does more than one thing a week. A Radio DJ, his chat show, his Film Show and other things too, he does work for his cash. Let's not forget though that ITV too like to pay big money to stars, it's just that ITV's stars are not really that great.
ITV paid a large sum as a "Golden Handcuffs" to Vernon Kay. Who ? Come on, he hosted "Beat the Star", a show which involved ordinary body builders (yes, they were that ordinary) trying to climb up piles of barrels or bang nails on to wood faster than a former sports star. What do you mean you've never heard of it ? And that's the point. This show "Beat the Star" was a prime time show, but do people really get excited about watching people milking cows as a race (I was told this was one of the challenges).
The lack of original ideas within ITV is highlighted too not just by Beat The Star, but by the number of celebrity related shows which basically re-hash old ideas but with celebs in place. Perhaps the worst example of which is Soap Star Super Chef. Remember this ? I thought not.
Even ITV's big shows, the ones that are must see TV are often seen as less than scrupulous in their running. Simon Cowell (here is someone else ITV can pay a fortune too) is the man behind X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, but you'd have to ask serious questions too about the validity of the results of both shows when there are numerous reports (and I have highlighted the problems) regarding the way the shows handle the votes.
So there we have it. We can blame the BBC for everything if we want, but then do we all want to sound like Daily Mail reporters. The truth is ITV's problem lie with ITV, not the BBC.