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Tom Merrit's New Shows - Do you care about the copy factor?

by zonerover / June 22, 2010 5:43 PM PDT

Note: Sorry if this just in the wrong place because there doesn't seem to be a specific forum or another obvious place to put this.

I posted a while ago about Tom Merritt's BOL clone Tech News Today. The general flow of comments seemed to be that both shows are enjoyable, but that BOL is skewed towards more rambles/opinions while TNT is tighter and more news focused. Still though, the fact that both shows have news headlines, opinions on those headlines, then voicemails and emails at the end of the show do make them extremely similar.

Tom was alluding to having a new show on Revision 3 last week on his Twitter feed, but now we find its... exactly the same show that he hosted on CNET but with a new name. Tom's Top 5 except for the name changes is exactly the same in content. With Brian taking on Tom's mannerisms to keep CNET's Top 5 the same for old viewers, I can't help but feel that TNT and BOL are more like identical twins - these Top 5 shows are really the clones.

I guess from the viewpoint of choice there's no real disappointment having two prominent tech-based Top 5 shows and two prominent daily news shows every week. But somehow I just have a odd feeling in my stomach about how Tom is able to just leave CNET and take all his old shows with him.

You could argue that as one of the co-creators of BOL that he's entitled to doing this. There's nothing stopping him from doing this since you can't really trademark a show's format (morning shows and late night shows are all effectively clones). However, even while I'm enjoying TNT and really liked the first Tom's Top 5, I can't help but feel that copying yet another show is crossing some invisible morale line inside of me. What show is coming next - Tom's Super Deal?

Note: Because of the crossover, I'm also going to be posting the bulk of this post on the Revision 3 forums.

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It's a daily tech news show hosted by pundits.
by minimalist / June 23, 2010 3:20 AM PDT

How different can it really be?

Saying that CNET is the only network that has the right to do a daily tech news show is absurd as saying NBC is the only network who has the right to have a late show.

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by Slikkster / June 23, 2010 3:54 AM PDT

I was going to post the same thing earlier, but had to run. But I totally agree. Cnet didn't invent the format, and it's absurd to suggest that other entities can't report on the day's news. Does anyone really want one outlet for opinion/analysis? Not me.

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Sorry If I Sounded too Anti-Top on One Count, But...
by zonerover / June 23, 2010 8:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Agreed

Sorry if I made it sound too much like am against what Tom's in general is doing. As I mentioned "You could argue that as one of the co-creators of BOL that he's entitled to doing this. There's nothing stopping him from doing this since you can't really trademark a show's format". I agree that he's fine in taking these shows to other networks, although I can understand where you got the interpretation that I didn't approve of this with "You could argue", I really was just trying to present a counterpoint to my assertion that I feel odd about him doing this.

The main problem I have is that Tom's Top 5 copies CNET Top 5 to the point of absurdity. At least with TNT, you can say that he took a format and reiterated it (tighter, more news, condensed opinions, calendar) to create a point of difference - add in different personalities and you have something very similar (my identical twin analogy) but still unique to the original show.

Tom's Top 5 starts with the same "where each time we meet, we count down another hot list". Tom's Top 5 goes for about the same length, with the pacing between introducing each product and the side comments about it seem identical to CNET's version. You have to answer a stupid trivia question on a forum to win a prize, instead of answering a trivia question on a forum to win a lame prize. People have been doing countdown shows for ages - I'm just saying I think that if you are able to replace the words "Tom's Top 5" with "CNET Top 5", "Tom Merritt" with "Brian Cooley", have both a "Lame Prize" and a "Stupid Trivia Question", and have pretty much identical shows, there's something a little too similar about them.

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If someone is blatantly copying listeners will be the judge
by minimalist / June 23, 2010 9:57 AM PDT

But if its the same person its not really copying...its just taking the brand you've built over the years to a different network. When Letterman switched networks he didn't change his style. If anything, its up to CNET shows to reinvent themselves without Tom. I don't want Rafe or Brian Tong to be Tom. I want them to be themselves.

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Well said...
by Slikkster / June 23, 2010 11:33 AM PDT

Nicely done!

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This is not unprecedented.
by isting / June 23, 2010 6:39 AM PDT

When David Letterman left NBC for CBS, did the format of his show change? No. All late night talks shows have the same general format. Monologue, misc. skit, interviews, and musical guest. When Conan starts his new show on TBS, it will still be the same show.

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Tom Merrit's New Shows - Do you care about the copy factor?
by wizkids32 / June 23, 2010 7:31 AM PDT

I am happy that Tom's Top 5 is on Rev. 3 that is great. I don't care also don't care that his news show is like BOL that should be flattering for BOL

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The way I see it is...
by Magishine / June 24, 2010 2:10 AM PDT

...Tom loved doing a Top 5 show. It seems like Cnet's Top 5 was his idea mostly anyway. I could be wrong about that. Rev 3 seems to be less...I dunno..."corporate" than Cnet, so he probably can get away with more.

Besides, Tom does a crapload of other podcasts. I don't think too many people care about a copy factor because these shows are all personality driven. BOL and TNT are both daily tech news shows and they both report on the same things, but they're vastly different because of who's running them. Another good example would be TWiT and Dvorak's old Silicon Spin show. Both were roundtable discussions with slightly different formats. However TWiT is a lot less formal than Silicon Spin was.

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