Hopefully the Barry Hearn revolution will result in some new faces appearing on our TV screens over the coming season.
A television debut is still a huge deal. Players are used to having friends and family supporting them at venues but the chance for wider exposure somehow makes all the hours and hours spent practising worthwhile.
It is proof that what they tell hairdressers, opticians and folk down the pub is actually true: they really are professional snooker players and, to prove it, you can tune in and watch them.
It can, of course, go one of two ways.
Martin Clark made his TV debut at the 1987 International against Dennis Taylor, winner of the World Championship two years earlier and the reigning Wembley Masters champion.
The result: Clark beat Taylor 5-0.
All too common, though, the debutant freezes. And it’s understandable. They’re not used to the cameras, the crowds or the increased pressure placed upon them.
This is particularly true of players who have spent almost all of their careers mired in the qualifiers in claustrophobic cubicles in front of the proverbial one man and his dog (and not always the dog).
The TV arenas take some getting used to, nowhere more than the forbidding Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
I recall a Scottish professional, John Lardner, playing there one year and remarking afterwards that the TV cameras were so close that they ‘felt like Daleks.’
I seem to remember he was actually exterminated by Stephen Lee.
Ken Doherty told me that the first time he played at the Crucible he spent the first four frames in a daze, looking around the arena, not believing he was there.
Needless to say he went to the interval 4-0 down.
Some players have to wait many years into their professional careers before appearing before the cameras and it hasn’t always been the experience they were hoping for.
In the case of Ken Owers, a journeyman pro of the 1980s, his debut on ITV consisted of one frame in the recorded highlights.
Owers appeared on screen only once: a cutaway of him sat in his chair before the cameras panned back to show his opponent, Neal Foulds, clearing up to beat him.
There’s a good crop of new young professionals who have joined the tour this year. The qualifying set up is a jungle but it was ever thus.
I hope some of them make it through and show the world what they are made of.
Appearing on TV is a source of great pride for players and something that you can always look back on.
That said, Joe Johnson’s kids taped over much of his 1986 world title triumph with ‘He-Man: Masters of the Universe’ so it’s advisable to be careful where you store the recording.