Finnish TV Talk Show Host Finds Success in Unconventional Approach

December 9, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Baha'i World News Service

Television talk shows often use conflict as their formula to win viewers, but a young producer in Finland is making a go of it with a different model.

On his Monday night program, Aram Aflatuni presents a problem, then has a panel of experts try to solve it using consultation and cooperation.

"I don't believe in confrontational journalism," he says. "I do not think that it is an effective way of finding solutions."

His hour-long show - "Härkää Sarvista," or "Grab the Bull by the Horns" - this week wraps up its first season of 15 episodes and has attracted as many as 345,000 viewers. Average viewership was 220,000 - 20 percent of the TV audience for its time period.

In Finland, TV shows often look for confrontation and "sometimes quite aggressive debate," said Juho-Pekka Rantala, a television executive who works on this show and others. "'Härkää Sarvista' is different. It is looking for solutions."

Viewers are invited to submit an issue for consultation. If chosen, the person goes on the air and presents the problem to the panel.

Mr. Aflatuni, 31, is a member of the Baha'i Faith and said he tries to use part of a consultation model used by Baha'is as the starting point for his show.