SM:TV Live



Ant & Dec (1998-2001)
Cat Deeley (1998-2002)
James Redmond (2002)
Ian "H" Watkins (2002)
Claire Richards (2002)
Brian Dowling (2002-03)
Tess Daly (2002-03)
Shavaughn Ruakere (2003)
Des Clarke (2003)
Stephen Mulhern (2003)


Blaze Television for ITV, 29 August 1998 to 27 December 2003

Co-produced by LWT, 1998


After obtaining the rights from the BBC to broadcast the 1997 season of Formula One, the budget for ITV's Saturday morning programming was considerably cut after Telegantic Megavision and WOW! both flopped in 1996. While Scratchy & Co. was the slot's saving grace for the next three years, it was ultimately time for a change.

In 1998, ITV took the remainder of their budget for Saturday mornings, axed it's long-running music programme for teenagers called The Chart Show and gave it to one company to air two shows, one aimed for children called SM:TV Live and one aimed for teenagers called CD:UK for 52 weeks, which went to Ant & Dec. Now Ant & Dec are no strangers to the world of television and to be tasked to host two shows for three hours every Saturday morning for an entire year is quite a task to behold. So, they got a hold of Cat Deeley to help them out and the two shows debuted on 29 August 1998.

The show didn't get off to the most auspicious start as it was at the time competing with Jamie Theakston and Zoe Ball on the other side with Live & Kicking still dominating in the ratings, but with news that both of them decided to quit the show in April 1999, it was a last chance saloon for SM:TV Live to regain viewership and to go beyond the 52 week run the show was originally given.

They attempted multiple features, which included game segments (mostly phone-ins) with prizes to be won. One of the early game segments was Star Challenge where callers predicts what number the celebrity is going to get via an arcade machine game and whoever is close or spot on the nose wins the prizes. There was also Giant Grabbit where callers have to guide the celebrity in a ball pit and grab as many prizes as they can. What's Ant Whistling has Ant whistling a familiar tune and callers call up to guess what tune Ant was whistling. All Hands on Dec have callers try and correctly guess how many hands there are on Dec before they run out of time.

Now those games that we mentioned above, they tried out for a few months but didn't come back after that. The next few we're about to mention lasted a little longer than them, in fact, one of them lasted throughout the entire run.

Splatoon is a phone-in game basically based off The Golden Shot where callers call in a guide the splatter to a number of targets to gain points and whoever get the most points wins prizes.

Challenge Ant is the only in-studio game where the contestants asks Ant ten questions that they have made themselves with help of the production team for Ant to prove he is the king of common knowledge, after ten questions, the contestant then has the chance to take what they've won up to that point or gamble their prizes to take whatever Ant has won and go for the star prize in a "KILLER QUESTION", which Ant then has 5 seconds to answer the question, if Ant gets it right, the contestant loses everything, but if Ant gets it wrong, the contestants wins the lot.

Eat My Goal is a phone-in game that came in later in the show's lifespan where two callers are asked a series of football related questions and whoever presses a telephone number first and if they get it correct, they then chose a celebrity on the bench to go up against goalkeeper Ant and attempt to score a goal.

But the game that ran throughout the show's entire run was the phone-in game Wonkey Donkey where the aim of the game is to guess a phrase and it has to rhyme and they have 10 seconds to get it right. (e.g. - A Kitten with Zits all over: Zitty Kitty) This segment is often memorable for Dec shouting at the callers for not understanding the rules.

The last chance saloon paid off for the show during the summer of 1999 and was given an extended run after its initial 52 week run and was garnering awards the following year. It was also the first time since Tiswas that ITV was beating out the BBC in the ratings with 2 million viewers every Saturday morning.

However in 2001, Ant & Dec were also hosting Pop Idol, which went out the same day as SM:TV Live and as the live shows for Pop Idol loomed for December, the boys knew that they couldn't host three live shows back to back on the same day and decided to call it a day with Cat following suit four months later.

Two of the game segments had to be renamed as the show found new hosts. Challenge Ant was renamed to Brian's Brain with Big Brother 2 winner Brian Dowling answering the kids questions and Splatoon was renamed to Men in Splat to coincide with the animated series of Men in Black the show acquired at the time.

As time moved on, ratings started to drop and a revamp was given in March 2003, but the show was now not live and it was just SM:TV, which hurt the show even more and eventually in August of the same year, it was announced that the show would be axed at the end of the year, ending a defining era of Saturday Morning television.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

Saturday Showdown


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