The most popular TV-show in the Netherlands for over twenty years
This is one of the longest running and most popular talk-shows on Dutch television with well over one and a half million viewers each episode (roughly one-tenth of the Dutch population)for almost 25 years. Above all, it was Ivo Niehe's brainchild. He presented, edited, he did practically everything on the show, until 2005, when Reinout Oerlemans took over.
The format is simple. Usually there are guests, either in the studio, sitting at his huge table, or he visits celebrities at their home (usually one guest, the biggest celebrity). Of this "interview", he makes a clever montage with his commentary and voice-over to show the audience "back home". The whole show was nothing more than cleverly disguised drab but one thing stood out. Many times Ivo Niehe did have celebrities in his show, that were basically out of reach for any other Dutch TV-show. There were two simple reasons for this. Ivo Niehe is one of the slickest guys around and he is fluent in French and Italian, a language rarely spoken in Holland, let alone by television hosts. Consequently in the 24 years of his career, he visited practically every European film star, mostly has-beens, that have lost real relevance in the movie-world but nevertheless, few others on Dutch television (or outside France and Italy for that matter) had a chance to interview stars like Sophia Loren, Alain Delon, Yves Montand, former presidents, dictators and many others. I can't remember all the names he interviewed, but there were plenty of big stars. He never asked questions though. After the interview you knew just a little as you did before. You learned everything about Sophia Loren's living room, what kind of roses she grows in her garden, and the names of her cats. But, all in all, pleasant but mindless diversion. Some celebrities, some jokes and some movie clips.
Sometimes, Ivo Niehe made an unfortunate slip-up, which occurred in one of his last shows. In an interview with Nicci French (both of them) they were talking about the recent movie "The Aristocrats" (2005). After a few minutes Ivo Niehe said to them, he absolutely adored the film and that his children loved the film when they were little and saw it at least ten times. Ivo Niehe didn't have a clue they were referring to a totally different film and thought they were talking about the animation film "The Aristocats", instead of the "Aristocrats". The couple was beginning to doubt Ivo Niehe's sanity, or integrity, but they continued by telling another - even more vulgar - anecdote about "The Aristocrats". To their astonishment, Ivo Niehe repeated his children saw the film many times and couldn't get enough of it, when they were little kids. I can't recall the interview exactly, but I think the conversation ended without the bizarre misunderstanding being cleared. It'll probably take some time before Nicci French returns for another interview with a Dutch TV-host. Anyway, He has his own theater show now, but he certainly made some entertaining television.
EDIT, 6 February 2007: I haven't watched much television lately, but recently I saw Ivo Niehe, presenting the "TV-show" (!) again, apparently he's back...
Camera Obscura --- Interesting Television
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