On-screen program guides beware. The British channel surfing show Flipside TV has the human touch, and it could be plugging into a U.S. TV outlet near you.
Each weeknight, host Richard Bacon and three remote-control wielding guests—often entertainers, critics and comics—navigate live television, hunting for programming gems on their individual sets. “We flip channels so you don’t have to,” says Executive Producer David Brook, quoting the show’s slogan. When one guest finds something laudable or laughable, the program pops up on a giant plasma screen TV for all to critique.
Flipside has featured cast members from the comedy smash The Office, singer Ian Astbury of The Cult and a slew of sharp-witted young British comedians and critics.
Watching people watch TV might seem odd, though watching people watch movies was the genius behind Comedy Central's cult classic, Mystery Science Theater 3000. The British show also earned a cult following during its six-month pilot run on the U.K. digital channel Nation 217.
Now, it’s a must-see on Channel Four and Paramount Comedy (Viacom’s British version of Comedy Central).
Brook, a former Channel Four exec, says he plans to announce an American version soon. He is tight-lipped on the details, but says Flipside is ideal for American “smart” comic talent (that’s “smart aleck” to Yanks) like Tom Green and Ashton Kutcher.