NTV Russia is the federal channel broadcasting in Moscow and throughout the country. Once it was the best one around (or at least I believe it was), but later on, with rise of Vladimir Putin to power, NTV was completely destroyed and turned into something Muscovites call "crime-TV".
Ahh, I remember those good times. Famous, talented journalists, excellent news and analytical programs, efficient management and rapidly developing movies production - that's what the "old" NTV was about.
It's not like this anymore. The news are more government-loyal than on any other channel, the series are terrible, and the channel is filled with horrifying criminal news enough to shock even the well-prepared viewer. A shame, really.....but who knows, maybe one day NTV Russia will return to its roots?
Initially, NTV Russia was created by Vladimir Gusinsky back in 1990s. Unlike other government-owned channels, NTV was completely private - and yet aired on federal level. Needless to say, this case was the first one in Russian history.
The channel has quickly become known for its fierce criticism of the government. I don't want to say its owners were very pure themselves - not at all. Back then, NTV earned several harsh reviews for participating in "oligarch wars" - and it was well-deserved.
However, with time the channel managed to get rid of this reputation by working hard and beating the competition. Many young, brilliant journalists joined the company and quickly became very famous for their shows. To name just a few:
- Victor Shenderovich with his hilarious reviews of recent political events.
- Leonid Parfenov a genius of journalism and documentaries, with his own, distinct style copied by many.
- Vladimir Osokin one of Russia's best TV presenters, his serious, "British" humour has become a legend.
- Vladimir Kara-Murza yet another NTV presenter, plus a host to several shows.
- Dmitry Dibrov a host to several famous NTV shows, including "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire".
And of course, there were countless other men and women who turned NTV Russia into country's leading channel - and there's proof to that! After all, NTV had won quite a lot of Russian and international prizes, including one for the best design - something other Russian TV channels could only dream about!
... but then, the bad times hit. By being too independent and completely privately - owned, NTV Russia managed to infuriate the country's top leadership.
It was then that the channel's major owner, Gusinsky, was arrested, and later forced to flee from the country, and that time (around 2002) has coined a new Russian term - "dispute of economic subjects".
Slowly but surely, the channel owner was changed to "Gazprom Media", while all those who disagreed to swear loyalty to the new boss (and thus, the government), were forced out of the company under many different reasons. And so, NTV Russia became a one big junkyard...
Today, NTV hosts some of the most terrible criminal shows Moscow has ever seen. To be frank, I haven't watched it for ages - and I'm quite happy with that. I did turn it on on several occasions - and has never lasted for more than a couple of minutes.
Murders, rapes, theft, robberies, even cannibalism - and that's just the beginning. Believe me, this "nice" list can go on for hours - while you'll last much, much less! Spare yourself from that - switch to another channel!
Another bad trait of modern NTV Russia is the abundance of series and movies that don't match even the lowest possible standards.
Endless cop series, horrible soap operas, movies that look like they were shot by a bunch of high-school students as a graduate work - that's more or less the summary of what modern NTV is all about.
I'm completely clueless as to who's watching them, but new ones are shot in dozens nearly every month. In fact, there is one explanation - being a government-owned channel, NTV can afford itself to ignore the viewer, and just basically shoot for itself.
Plus, every such movie is a good cover-up for corruption, since government funds all of them no matter the actual quality of the product. Thus, you can shoot a $1000 movie, and get a $100,000 budget for it - and that's what most probably happens.
It breaks my heart to see that once proud member of global TV network has become the mint of bribery and extreme non-professionalism.
The only field where new NTV definitely leads is the news - and I mean the loyalty. NTV is probably the most loyal to the current Russian government of them all - despite how critical it was only a few years ago. Well, what is there to say - you knew it was a sad story from the beginning, right?
I can only hope that one day, times will change and NTV will be restored to its previous state. Meanwhile, the only thing left is the Internet, that's not been shut off at least for now.