More of less: the dilemma facing the BBC

LB’S NOTE: TV viewing habits are in flux, for all practical purposes (notice that I didn’t say “literally” although this probably would be sentence in which that word would apply) changing every moment.

This of course has a huge effect on creatives, as in, “WTF? Who’s our audience? What does it want? What should we create?” and possibly an even bigger effect on the gatekeepers of the world. This interview with Tim Davie, new director general at the BBC explains.

This is a “director general?” Where’s his uniform? And his medals…?

by Jim Waterson

When Tim Davie used his first speech as the director general of the BBC to announce he wanted to have “more impact by making less”, staff immediately began sending round a clip from the sitcom W1A in which clueless BBC management attempt to implement a “more of less” programme.

“This is about establishing what we do most of best and finding fewer ways of doing more of it less,” says a character in the BBC’s satire of its own corporate structure, to general befuddlement from those in the room.

On Tuesday Davie tried the same pitch for real, using the launch of the corporation’s annual report to set out what he wants to see less of under his leadership of the BBC. In his vision of the future there will be fewer middle-managers earning big salaries, with a drive to reduce the BBC’s overall headcount. There will be fewer middle-ranking programmes that don’t qualify as “unique, high-impact content”. And there will be fewer BBC employees ending up in the pages of the Daily Mail after using their Twitter accounts to share their personal views on politics.

Davie’s problem is that the BBC is already having to deal with some major structural issues that are forcing it to make do with less. And they are harder to solve.

There has been a small but noticeable reduction in the number of active television licences by 300,000 in just 12 months, suggesting either licence fee evasion is on the rise or more people feel able to live without the corporation’s output. With the growing expectation the government will decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee – and the public’s finances stretched due to the recession – Davie acknowledges he needs to increase the BBC’s commercial revenue fast or face making even more cuts.

There is also the continued failure of a successful plan to win over young audiences, with the latest incarnation being a return to traditional television for BBC Three….

Read it all at

Ricky Gervais Tells A Story About How He Learned To Write

LB’S NOTE: Speaking of most comedy writing needing to be shorter and funnier, here’s Ricky Gervais proving himself a true master of both.

More “creation stories” can be found at Fast Compajny’s YouTube Channel


How to make your writing funnier

LB’S NOTE: As a producer, story editor, teacher, contest judge, you-name-it, the most common note I’ve given writers is, hands down, this:

Could be shorter. Could be funnier.

Here’s comedy writer Cheri Steinkellner with further details on the “funnier” part. Oh, and notice that as TED TALKS go, this is pretty darn short, y’hear what I’m saying?

Lesson by Cheri Steinkellner, animation by Anton Bogaty.

Found at the TED-Ed YouTube Channel


Writing, Pitching & Promoting in the Age of the Coronavirus

LB’s NOTE: Jane Friedman’s powerful writing blog brings us this excellent analysis of how to do business during the COVID-19 age. Big thanks to her and interviewer Sangeeta Mehta!

by Sangeeta Mehta

Like everyone in the book industry, writers have experienced considerable change over the last few months. Although they might be used to working from home, being forced to do so has impaired creativity and made it nearly impossible for some writers to focus. For others, being under lockdown has provided just the right push for them to finally finish their book project and research agents and publishers.

For those writers who are able to work at this time, questions loom:

  • If they’re writing fiction, should they adjust their story to reflect current events?
  • If they’re already published, can they effectively promote their book through social media?
  • What’s the best way to help fellow writers, booksellers, and others who may be struggling?

I asked literary agents Stefanie Sanchez von Borstel of Full Circle Literary and Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Literary, Inc. these and other similar questions, and as with all my Q&As, neither knew the other’s identity until after they submitted their answers.

Please note: Although both agents answered my questions as best as they could when the interview was conducted in May, it’s a very changeable situation. Still, their answers suggest that it’s possible for writers to thrive even during unpredictable times….

Read it all at janefriedman.com

Sangeeta Mehta (@sangeeta_editor), a former acquiring editor of children’s books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster, now runs her own editorial services company.

Last Week’s Most Important Cord Cutting Developments

Cord Cutters News gives us the latest on the cord cutting front. New Premium Options on Roku, NFL Network Back on Sling TV, Apple One, & More!

Cord Cutters Video Channel:
Cord Cutters Web Site:

Oh, and you can even buy a nifty coffee mug so you can settle back and sip while you watch