IF YOU thought Deal or No Deal (Channel 4, 4pm, weekdays) had perfected the art of spinning out for an hour a programme which could be wrapped up in 15 minutes, then think again.
Let me present exhibit A: Take Me Out: The Gossip (ITV 2, Saturdays). No Saturday night show on ITV 1 is complete, it would seem, without a spin-off show on ITV 2.
Take Me Out brings out the best in presenter Paddy McGuinness.
He's not the best comedian around, but he knows how to gently mock the 30 women who decide whether to count themselves in or out of the reckoning to go on date with the sacrificial lamb, sorry, male contestant.
It's cheeky, fun and just right for Saturday night. But does it need a spin off show presented by a former The Only Way is Essex “star”? No, probably not.
Especially when they fill over an hour promising to let you get to know more about the 30 women hoping to land that date, and a pledge to “take you closer than anyone else can to what goes on on set”. There are two reasons they can make that latter claim – the first being it's what they're there to do, the second being they're probably the only ones who've asked to go behind the scenes.
If producing successful telly is about little more than putting people in front of a camera and laughing at the words which fall out of their mouths, regardless of what the words are, then Take Me Out: The Gossip should be up for a BAFTA.
If your standards are a little higher, then you're going to be very disappointed.
Which brings me on to exhibit B: The Xtra Factor (ITV 2, Sundays, 9pm) which kicks off just after the main results show on ITV 1. Presented by Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, it's like watching a bunch of sixth formers who've decided it would be really cool to see what happens if they ate nothing but Haribo for a week.
Bearing in mind there was something approaching drama as tune-less Rylan survived the sing-off against Shania Twain-wannabe Carolynne after Louis Walsh amusingly suffered a meltdown when faced with arguably the easiest decision of his life – there were plenty of meaty questions to ask.
Instead, what we were treated to was a “guess whose autobiography this is” game, where a sentence from each star's autobiography was read out by the voiceover man.
Cringe-worthy doesn't begin to cover it – not least because Louis, having recovered from his Lurpak-like meltdown and realised he was the star turn for once, didn't recognise his own book.
And so it went on. When they “went to the phones” – a cliché first invented by Philip Schofield on Going Live I think – the questions were so timid and tame that it was more fun to try and work out whether the breathing patterns of the teenage callers were such that they may not finish their question.
The solution to such bilge? Obviously not to watch it.
But to me it's remarkable that TV channels even want to associate their big, audience-winning franchises with such poor spin-offs.
Of course, the better question to perhaps ask was why I found myself on ITV2 at all when I had Homeland (C4), Downton (ITV1), Dragons Den (BBC2) and Andrew Marr's latest series (BBC1) to choose from.
And perhaps the fact that I was on ITV watching the Xtra Factor tells me why such spin-offs aren't better.
Frankly, sometimes we'll watch anything.
What I’ll be watching next week: Hunted (BBC 1, 9pm, Thursday): Great start for the new Spooks. Still easy to pick up if you missed week one.