Jacko ghost hunt is so off the wall
Merton, Hislop and the gag writers having an off week on Have I Got News For You?
Armstrong & Miller's strike rate down to a worryingly low 1 in 10.
C4 repeating a documentary about how Peter Kay took Amarillo to No1 in 2005, which was fairly flat the first time they showed it.
And Benidorm ending a so-so third series and finding its true level with a "comedy" Scotsman lifting his "comedy" kilt to reveal a "comedy" strap-on willy.
But wait. What's this we have over at the house of fun, Sky1?
Could that really be turbo-tanned coffin-botherer Derek Acorah sitting in a room full of Michael Jackson fans (some in fancy dress, some not) casually inviting Jacko to chat over the psychic garden fence?
And has he really just cut short his usual ethereal mumbo-jumbo and, with an utterly straight face, announced: "Michael says can someone say hello to Quincy Jones for him?"
He has? Fabulous. I might stay up for a bit longer then.
Yes folks, it's MICHAEL JACKSON: THE LIVE SÉANCE. Where, to my eye, everything looks about as "live" as Jacko does these days.
And where, according to Derek, some "fresh spirit" has just entered the room. (I'm guessing vodka, possibly gin.)
Sadly though, any hope of success surely died when it became clear the "three fans we have here to try and attract Michael Jackson" were all well into their twenties.
Of course, Sky1 probably hoped this would be the most controversial, agenda-setting television show ever made.
Twenty years ago they may have been right. But they quickly realised that most people nowadays would approach it thinking "this should be a laugh." So they booked David Gest as a co-host.
That's not a criticism, by the way. Cos if there's one face that always seems to be saying "I'm taking the mickey" it's Gest's. Who else could kill any lingering hopes of credibility barely two minutes into the show by admitting "... and I believe in leprechauns too"?
Like a lot of sane people, Gest knew there was more chance of Jacko turning up on X Factor to throw some front stage shapes to John & Edward's Ghostbusting routine than there was of him skipping down to a holiday home he once rented in southern Ireland.
Yet, for anyone willing to play along with the madness and actually accept that Jacko was visiting that room along with his nana, grandpa and aunty, there was much to enjoy.
True, Derek was unable to offer any answers to the really big questions. Has Jacko made up with Princess Diana yet? Has he popped over to rat heaven for an emotional reunion with Ben? And does Jesus Juice taste better when it's served by the man Himself?
And yes, on a personal level it was disappointing not to see a diamond-encrusted white glove levitating above that table or a Jacko-possessed Derek yelling: "Uri Geller is a tosser!" (Though I am still hoping for unseen footage of Derek jumping to his feet and moonwalking across that polished floor screaming "Cha'mone!")
But the production team were clearly having a laugh. And probably couldn't contain their joy when the bloke who owned Ballinacurra House revealed Jacko had requested the room overlooking the kiddies' playground.
Of course, not everyone will find this show so ludicrous and amusing. But as a TV-watching nation we shouldn't be too quick to suggest Derek or Sky1 are exploiting needy, vulnerable, borderline mental cases for entertainment.
Especially when there are other smartly-dressed, bright- toothed chancers doing exactly that in front of much bigger audiences on other TV channels right now. And making small fortunes off the back of it.
In any case, if Jacko's devotees really want a sure-fire way of making sure their messages get to him as quickly as possible they should just do what any betting man would do. Give them to Liz Taylor and ask her to pass them on.
NAME Change. RUSSELL HOWARD'S GOOD NEWS.
No, no, no. Russell Howard's Copying TV Burp. http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/columnists/589944/Ian-Hyland-reviews-for-News-of-the-World.html