July 12, 2009

Multi-channel branding strategies

Posted in ABC1, Network Ten, SBS one tagged , , , , , , , at 7:35 pm by Give Me The Remote

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the multi channeling stategies being undertaken by the free networks.

  • ABC was first to kick off their second digital channel and choose to brand  similar to BBC (and others).. e.g. ABC1, ABC2, ABC3.
  • SBS has now followed the same lead, with SBS one and SBS two.
  • Network 10 on the otherhand have made their second channel a dedicated sports network called one HD.
  • Channel 9 look to be doing a similar thing and branding their station as a youth channel – in order to increase their marketshare in the much desired younger demographics
  • Channel 7 haven’t really done anything yet.

As I’ve written in my previous post, there are definite constraints with dedicating your HD channel to one genre of show.

I strongly believe that the ABC and SBS have selected the more intelligent format due to its lack of restrictions.

For example, at the moment most nights on SBS throughout July are filled with sport. They’ve stuck the Ashes on SBS one and Le Tour on SBS two. SBS one has the HD channel, so the cricket is in HD. When the cricket is not on, the cycling can switch to SBS one and grab the HD channel (or not, depending on what else is on)

Devil’s advocate says that switching serial programs between channels would confuse viewers. But I don’t believe we’re that stupid. If the cycling’s been on SBS one for the past week and I tune in to find the Ashes, I’m going to go to SBS two automatically. Informative idents and cross promotion help this. It’s a unified network across two channels. It works.

I can’t fathom why channel 10 has restricted themselves so much by dedicating the channel to sport. If the network had 5 different channels of course it would be fine to make one sports-only. However with 2 channels only, it’s just ridiculous to tie their hands so tight behind their back.


December 9, 2007

Chaser, Thank God You’re Here expected to take a break

Posted in ABC1, Network Ten at 5:31 pm by Give Me The Remote

Recent mail from the Working Dog and Chaser camps says that they are both considering resting their shows next year.

The Chasers War on Everything averaged 1.45 million viewers an episode in 2007, forming the core of the ABC’s extremely successful Wednesday light entertainment/comedy night. Mostly remembered for its more controversial skits – who could forget the fake APEC motorcade or that Eulogy song that everybody seemed to take offence to – the show did not have the substance this year that it was present last year. There were definitely highlights and many of them, but there were also countless skits that missed the mark by a country mile and appeared to be nothing more than filler.

The Chaser

Channels 7 and 9 attemped to cash in on the Chasers success and seemed to broadcast a ‘Chaser’ story on ACA and TT every week or two – many negative, but also quite a lot positive. This pretty much equated to Chaser, Chaser, Chaser. As they continued to make the news the exposure grew and grew and the boys were just everywhere.

I believe that it has been an incredibly thoughtful move to take a break from television and focus on other things – a nationwide stageshow tour titled ‘The Chaser’s Age of Terror Variety Hour’. I dare say that this tour will be a great deal less politically correct than the show they are forced to air every week across the nation.

If/when they come back, I suggest another format change. Perhaps try the news panel style satire that they had been churning out for years in graveyard slots when nobody was watching. It really was quite good – and a change from the whole house/clubroom theme. CNNNN again?

Then there’s Thank God You’re Here. Michael Hirsh from Working Dog recently told The Sunday Telegraph that “We haven’t made a decision if we’re doing Thank God or not; we’re undecided.”

Thank God You’re Here
Hamish Blake and Angus Sampson watch the Veronicas on Thank God You’re Here

The Working Dog team have always said that they didn’t want to overdo the format. I would be surprised if the show doesn’t come back – but a few months off won’t hurt the ratings when the show returns. I think this show needs some new stars. How about some oversees names trying to plug television programs/movies? Boost the stars up from B-list Aussies to A-list American/UK stars. Would they be up for it? Most – probably not. But I’m sure some would really great – Stephen K. Amos, Jason Byrne are names that spring to mind. Some really crazy guys who would just run amok.

So, the production teams of The Chasers War on Everything and Thank God You’re Here are smart enough to understand over-exposure and do their best to avoid it. With smart people behind these programs, is it any wonder that have been two of the most popular shows of 2007?

November 9, 2007

ABC boycotting AFI Awards

Posted in ABC1 at 8:56 am by Give Me The Remote

The ABC will not be attending the AFI Awards in December, and will therefore not funding the attendance of any nominee from the network.

AFI Award
AFI  Award

This comes as a result of the AFI moving some categories from its televised Awards Dinner on December 6 to the more low key Industry Awards the day before. ABC isn’t happy with this because it believes that it will split up some of its programming teams, with the ABC deciding which members of the team will be invited to attend the dinner and who will have to watch it elsewhere on a large screen.

Awards that the ABC are not happy are being moved include: Best Comedy Series, Best Light Entertainment, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Children’s Drama, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, and Outstanding Performance in a Television Comedy.


ABC shows nominated this year include: The Chaser’s War On Everything, The New Inventors, The Sideshow, Spicks & Specks and The Bastard Boys.

Press release:

“We have not taken this decision lightly. The AFI has removed a number of major television awards from the broadcast night. Some categories remain part of the Award Dinner, while others have been moved to the Industry Awards, effectively splitting up some program teams.

“The AFI alone has selected those they believe are the highest-profile faces to attend the broadcast, while other members of the team do not receive an invite to the dinner/broadcast. Instead they are invited to view the telecast on a large screen elsewhere.

“As we all know, making television is a team effort, and ABC TV cannot support this move which favours some over others. We have spoken with the AFI to see if there is any way they will address our concerns, and they have advised us that changes can’t be made. Therefore, ABC TV Management has decided, with regret, that we are unable to support this year’s AFI Awards.”

Source: The Spy Report

November 8, 2007

The Sideshow axed

Posted in ABC1 at 4:47 pm by Give Me The Remote

The ABC have decided that ‘The Sideshow’ will not be back in 2008. The program, a sort of cabaret style light entertainment extravaganza hasn’t pulled the numbers required by the ABC. In its original timeslot at 7:30pm on Saturday nights it pulled 615000 nationally and then 410000 at its 8:30 slot (which is not too bad up against Saturday night AFL).

Hosted by the very talented (and sometimes annoying – but that some of his charm) Paul McDermott, ‘The Sideshow’ was basically a collection of comedy bits, circus and burlesque acts, and musical numbers. Regulars on the show included: The Umbilical Brothers, Tripod, Claire Hooper and Flacco.

Claire Hooper and Paul McDermott on The Sideshow

It has been a really fun, quality show that has suffered due to shocking timeslots. Its ideal demographic would definitely have been the younger 18-49 group, probably the section of the public most likely to not be at home watching television on Saturday night. I guess it feels like a Saturday night show (light entertainmenty) but it’s not a kids show and so therefore can’t be chucked in the 7:30 slot. Plus, take a look at the Saturday night lineup – New Tricks (crime/drama), The Bill (crime/drama) then look at Wednesday – Spicks and Specks (music), The Chaser (comedy), The Librarians (comedy) and At the Movies (arts).

The ABC persisted for many years with medium to poor figures for the Chaser until a decent timeslot saw it regularly be the top rating program of the night. Granted Chaser was a much cheaper show to produce, but the lesson is still the same.. give a decent show a decent timeslot.

The Sideshow

I guess I’m just flogging a dead horse now, but it really is a shame because The Sideshow had a lot of great acts. I taped the program most weeks and watched some of the stuff over multiple times. A quick search of ‘The Sideshow’ in YouTube will result in many videos that viewers have deemed fit to put on the net.

There’s 4 episodes left. Make sure you see at least one! Sideshow whooah oooo ooh (thats the theme tune often sung at the end).

November 1, 2007

The Librarians.. was a bit rubbish

Posted in ABC1 at 2:02 pm by Give Me The Remote

I’m at pains to say.. but this show really didn’t strike much of a chord with me. The cast list is great.. how much more of a leg up can you get? A nice handful of very well accomplished comic actors in Australia, but the laughs for me just weren’t there.

Robyn Butler’s character, Frances O’Brien is definitely cringeworthy in parts, bit of a nod to David Brent, but overall I don’t think she quite pulls it off. I’m already really starting to get sick of the Dawn character (the accident prone wheelchair chick). A wheelchair constantly running over people doth not a comedy make. Josh Lawson’s character ‘Lachlan’ has potential.. I can see some funny jokes coming from his dyslexia and nice guy persona. Ky is a really likeable character as well.. but really didn’t see enough of him or ‘resident poet’ Matthew. Nada’s (the muslim) role in the library seems to be to glare and roll her eyes at every (extremely) racist comment that Frances makes regarding people of Middle Eastern appearance  – and there were a few. Oh and for the record I didn’t really need to see Wayne Hope’s character (Terry, Frances’ husband) masturbating in the shower. ew.

Ky and Matthew from the Librarians
Librarians Ky Lee and Matthew Bytnskov

Perhaps I might give it a week. Yeah I probably should, it’s Aussie after all.. and the cast… the cast. I think it’s got a lot of improving to do if it wants me watching episode 3.

October 18, 2007

Chaser in trouble again over tasteless Eulogy song

Posted in ABC1 at 10:29 am by Give Me The Remote

I knew as I was watching this that there was going to be a lot of furore. It was probably about the most politically incorrect 5 minutes of television I’ve seen in a long while.

The song, sung by Andrew Hansen, has a crack at Steve Irwin, Peter Brock, John Lennon, Jeff Buckley, Princess Diana, Stan Zemanek, Don Bradman, Kerry Packer and almost Belinda Emmett.

Andrew Hansen
Andrew Hansen

It definitely goes over the top.. it finds the line and uses it as the starting line before sprinting off. Here are the lyrics to the thing.. but be warned that it gets a tad rude more towards the end..

My great grand father died this week.
I couldn’t stand him actually nobody could.
But as soon as he passed away everybody went around saying what a top bloke he was, so..
I’d like to dedicate this song to you, Gramps.

He was very hard of hearing,
he was dull and domineering,
mysogenist cantankerous and vain.
He hit the bottle every night,
he hit my grandma out of spite,
and those stories about his bunyons were a pain.

But all that’s now forgotten,
once he took his final breath.
Yes even pricks turn into top blokes after death.

You don’t believe me?
Allow me to furnish you with a few examples..

Steve Irwin lived in khaki,
a cartoon kamikaze,
who taunted crocs and tots so frequently.

And Brocky was some revhead,
who pumped the air with pure lead,
so anti green he drove into a tree.

But all that was forgotten,
once they took their final breath.
Yes even tools turn into top blokes after death.

John Lennon chose the hippy life,
he chose some nutbag for a wife,
his songs were never quite as good as Paul’s.

Jeff Buckley fooled all lovers,
just one album, mostly covers,
more wailing than Japan does off our shores.

But all that was forgotten,
once he took his final breath,
yes even wankers turn into top blokes after death.

Princess Di was just a slut for sex,
when they looked in the car wreck,
her dress was wet with Arab semen stain.

Stan Zemanek was a racist jock,
Fatso, xenophobic cock,
whose views were more malignant than his brain.

But all that was forgotten,
once he took his final breath,
yes even arseholes turn into top blokes after death.

It’s not how they lived that counts,
but how we rewrite the book.
When it comes to truth it’s best to use restraint,
it pays to throw away the facts
and have a rose coloured look.
When he dies, Martin Bryant will look a saint.

Don Bradman was a total farce,
a grumpy, greedy tight-arse,
who couldn’t even score one run last time he played.

Kerry Packer was a brothel chief,
a tax cheat and a kidney thief.
and procreating Jamie was the worst mistake he made.

But all that was forgotten,
once he took his final breath,
yes even **** turn into top blokes after death.

Belinda Emmett was a…  (stopped by cast)

Remember all will be forgotten,
once we take our final breath..
yes even pervert motherf**kers,
even rampant child-abusers,
even local Baghdad looters,
even baby bunny rooters,
even reckless drunken drivers,
even rodent sperm imbibers,
even violent poofter bashers,
even public penis flashers,
even rotting corpse molesters,
even human piss ingesters,
even tiny kitten kickers,
even anal finger lickers,
even Anna ‘bloody’ Coren,
yes even she will be a top bloke after death.

October 12, 2007

Chaser boys in trouble again over bomb stunt

Posted in ABC1 at 10:08 pm by Give Me The Remote

The Chaser are being investigated yet again for another one of their stunts, this timee involving a faux bomb.

In the stunt, Craig Reucassel, dressed up as a courier, delivers a package that is making a loud ticking sound, akin to bombs in the movies.

Craig Reucassel
Craig Reucassel

The same stunt included Reucassel delivering a live sheep, snake, a little kid and a corpse in a body bag. The corpse however is actually a live person, which is uncovered when the bag stands up and walks away at the end.

It is an offence to leave or send an article with intent to cause alarm. The maximum penalty for this offence is five years jail.

“The Chaser chose the loudest and most deliberately comical ticking to ensure the people involved in the filming could not think there was any real threat,” a spokesperson said.

I just love it how the Chaser seem to be in the news every second day for one thing or another. Is it political correctness gone totally overboard? Are the media just fishing for stories? Or are the boys pushing the boundaries a little bit too far and crossing some lines that they deserve to be punished for. How long until a judge gets fed up and locks one or two up for a little while?


October 10, 2007

Chaser musical skit riles Tim Freedman

Posted in ABC1 at 12:36 pm by Give Me The Remote

Tim Freedman isn’t happy. The Whitlams’ frontman has taken offence to a Chaser skit satirising his apparently overuse of Newtown icons in his songs.

This is it:

Mr Freedman has replied saying that satire “is really just a civilised form of abuse, and  an incoming missile is unsettling just for the fact that someone has gone to all that trouble to annoy you for laughs.”

The Whitlams’ Tim Freedman
Tim Freedman is bemused..

He then goes onto say that the reason Chris Taylor wrote the song is because he’s stuck up on an ex that both Freedman and Taylor had both gone out with at different times. He finishes with “Bachelors of Australia be warned. When dining with a woman make sure she has not been involved with any presently famous satirists. You may find yourself the butt of a spurious nationally broadcast joke.”


Taylor, of course, has replied that this woman, Anna Skellern – a previous Chaser cast member, had nothing to do with him writing a Whitlams satire.

Chris Taylor, Anna Skellern & Tim Freedman
Taylor, Skellern & Freedman

It seems like every second week the Chaser is ruffling somebody’s feathers… and that’s exactly where their appeal lies.

Heres the full statement from The Whitlams website:

I received The Chaser treatment on Wednesday night. It’s a strange feeling being satirised. On the one hand everyone quotes Wilde and says that being talked about is better than not being talked about – that the attention will fade into some kind of indistinct notoriety as the months roll by.  On the other hand satire  an incoming missile is unsettling just for the fact that someone has gone to all that trouble to annoy you for laughs.

I was out when the show was on, having supper after a great ACO concert. Seated next to me was a person who actually works on The Chaser so I was warned that at that minute I was being satirised in the lounge rooms of Australia. I was not to direct any vitriol at Andrew Hansen the impersonator, a lovely chap, and altogether too sensitive to cope with any criticism. No, the fellow to be careful about was Chris Taylor who had written the lyrics.

I record The Chaser if I go out on Wednesday night. Most of it is usually great. Sometimes there are parts that are a little lame. As I pressed play, I was hoping that the bit on me would fit into the latter category. The piece came on and I must say I really enjoyed it. “Who is this guy,? I’d buy his album,” I thought. Hansen had my rather basic piano style down well, and the vowel sounds and melody were eerily similar to what I hear in my head. But the lyrics?

The point of the song was that I only write about Newtown and continually name-check its streets and landmarks. I was a little bemused. I have only mentioned Newtown once in over 60 songs, on our sixth album last year. Before that you have to go back 8 years where I named 2 pubs in a song about the pokies. And the first 3 albums? Not a single reference.  More pointed perhaps would have been the question as to why I so willingly bathed in the cachet of fine old Newtown when I had written so very little about it, and had only lived there for 20 years (not quite enough to be deemed a “local” around these parts). Why were they having a go when they didn’t even have a point?  As The Chasers like to say, I decided to do a little research of my own.

There has been one female cast member of The Chaser. It was the very first series, and the actress was an ex-girlfriend of mine. Recently I was sharing a drink with her in London. Apparently she did not make it to the second series after a romance with one Chris Taylor turned pear-shaped. Could it be that as I was still seeing her on a purely social level during the first series that I had unwittingly become embroiled in a matter of the heart? Was a score being settled? I’m not sure. 

Bachelors of Australia be warned. When dining with a woman make sure she has not been involved with any presently famous satirists. You may find yourself the butt of a spurious nationally broadcast joke.

Which I suppose is not such a bad thing. It’s good profile.

Tim Freedman


October 9, 2007

New Wallace & Gromit episode

Posted in ABC1 at 4:14 pm by Give Me The Remote

Nick Park, creator of the very clever Wallace & Gromit duo has stated that there will be a new Wallace & Gromit television episode (really sort of a half-hour film). He announced via the Wallace & Gromit video blog that he has finished writing the new episode with Bob Baker.

The new episode, titled ‘Trouble at’ Mill’ will be the first Wallace & Gromit short since their Oscar winning ‘A Close Shave’ was first broadcast in 1995.

Park has revealed that in this new episode, Wallace and Gromit now own a home delivery bakery service called Top Bun. Their house will have a windmill on the roof and there will be contraptions aplenty to grind the corn and bake the dough.

Gromit Baking

Gromit will be the main one working the bakery as Wallace takes more of an interest in his new love ‘Piella Bakewell,’ whom he meets whilst delivering bread one day.

Nick Park modelling Piella Bakewell
Nick Park models Piella Bakewell

Trouble at’ Mill will be the fourth Wallace and Gromit short film, following A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995). The pair have also starred in the feature length Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and there was a spin-off childrens series based on Shaun the Sheep (from A Close Shave).

Wallace & Gromit
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Trouble at’ Mill is expected to be screened last 2008 in the UK – so we will hopefully see it on the ABC sometime not too soon after that!

October 5, 2007

Angela Pippos resigns from ABC TV

Posted in ABC1 at 11:02 am by Give Me The Remote

After 14 years at ABC Television, Angela Pippos has decided that she’s had enough and wants to try something a bit different.

In August she was courted by new Victorian Premier John Brumby to take over ex-Premier Steve Bracks’ safe seat of Williamstown. She turned the offer down, however she says that it got her to thinking.

“That approach was out of the blue and it did get me thinking about my career and my future,” she told The Age yesterday.

Angela Pippos
Source: The Age (Michael Rayner)

Pippos has been working as ABC TVs weekend sports presenter, herself a mad keen Adelaide supporter, since being controversially dropped from its nightly new bulletin in favour of Peter Wilkins. She has also been writing her second novel (her first was titled ‘The Goddess Advantage: One Year in the Life of a Football Worshipper’) and has hinted at a possible move to another form of media – maybe radio.


Next page