December 9, 2007
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.
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.”
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?
December 2, 2007
Let me just clarify something first.. I seem to always love summer TV. I think it’s all the dodgy comedy that don’t usually rate too well. It’s the comedy’s that are either really ridiculous/stupid or a bit too biting to make it in the cruel ratings season.
Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin
Okay, but having said this.. summer TV looks sooo good this year!!! I’m excited… Here’s a snapshot of what’s on offer:
- 30 Rock – I really thought that this program deserved a ratings period timeslot.. but obviously there’s a bit of a lack of faith in this one to be a ratings killer.. but it’s Emmy award winning! It’s on twice a week.. which personally I think is too much.. it’s sort of like saying ‘We just want to get this program over and done out of the way’ (Monday 10:30pm, Wednesday 10:30pm Seven)
- The Big Bang Theory – I really have no idea how good or bad this will be but I have a feeling that it’ll be trashy American sitcom.. should be interesting, no less. (Monday 7:30pm Nine)
- Kid Nation – Controversial in the US.. curious to see how it goes over here… dodgey timeslot (Friday 7:30pm Ten)
- King of Queens – This has been Nine’s staple Temptation replacement for the past couple of years. I always have a ball watching this one. The jokes are stupid, but Jerry Stiller is funny. (Weeknights 7:00pm Nine)
- Weeds – Well this one was already going.. but at least they’re keeping it on. (Monday 10:30pm Nine)
- Men in Trees – and so it returns.. another one of those US programs that Nine didn’t give enough of a chance. (Wednesday 7:30pm Nine)
- The Starter Wife – based on the novel, filmed in Australia, stars Debra Messing.. nominated for 10 Emmys.. about a 41 year old lady who is forced to fend for herself (and her kid) after her rich film husband abandons her (Wednesday 8:30pm Ten)
- Cane – very decent show.. starring Jimmy Smits.. sort of Cuban/American Godfather style thing about warring families in the rum/sugar business in Florida (Wednesday 9:30pm Ten)
- American Dad – it’s about time that some of Seth MacFarlane’s work got back on our telly screens. I actually prefer this one to Family Guy (Thursday 10:00pm Seven)
- Friends – not my thing.. but for such a ratings hit of its time, I’m surprised that it’s taken this long to come back to our screens (Sunday-Friday 7:00pm Ten)
- Don’t Forget the Lyrics – very similar to the singing bee (mixed with a bit of Who wants to be a Millionaire).. hosted by Wayne Brady.. (Sunday 7:30pm Ten)
The Big Bang Theory – Kaley Cuoco and Simon Helberg
Not a bad summer lineup really.. can’t wait to check some of this stuff out.
November 19, 2007
Very excellent news today with SBS announcing that they will be making a local version of Top Gear. It will be.. wait for it.. ‘uniquely and quintessentially Australian’. Quintessentially is such a long word. So yeah, it’s not just going to replicate the UK version in other words.
Top Gear hosts – Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May
A race between a Smith St tram and a car? (The tram would have to be given a days head start)
Maybe a weekly segment.. Ford v Holden
Instead of racing Lamborghinis and Ferraris, pit a souped up Hilux against an XR8.
Actually I have been a bit of a fan of the Channel 9 car shows over the years. There’s probably some good stuff there that SBS can steal. Research, whatever.
I love Jeremy Clarkson’s quote “I’m delighted that Top Gear is going to Australia. Maybe the first guest could be Jonny Wilkinson.”
Only after Shane Warne appears on your version buddy.
November 18, 2007
As a fan of independent music, please let me indulge.
How does an Australian Idol finalist regain their credibility after appearing for weeks on this glorified karaoke machine?
It’s almost a given that once an individual makes the jump to the Idol stage they are no longer a regular singer or musician.. they will forever have Australian Idol winner/loser/finalist at the start of their name. They will have 40 year old women coming to their concerts for years to come and nobody in the industry will forget their version of that song that starts reasonably soft before ending with soaring vocals and tears aplenty.
But fame! There’s the fame. Appearing on television in front of a million viewers every week and umpteen invites to D grade envelope openings alongside Big Brother housemates. Performing for the next 12 months to sellout crowds of screaming girls and their arms-crossed boyfriends and husbands.
But once the whirlwind ride ends (probably with a highest selling single ARIA award under arm) and all memories of their weekly vocal excellence long forgotten there must become a time when the artist begins to tire of the Idol tag. But can they lose it? Probably not. Kelly Clarkson has done well. She’s transformed into a ‘real’ artist now (where television ratings aren’t an indicator of record sales). I’d definitely call her an anomaly.
Recently latest Australian Idol winner Matt Corby has made some comments indicating that he is already unhappy with the ‘fringe benefits’ of beginning his record career through Idol. He’s not happy with the winners song (and neither is Natalie for that matter) and has said “Look, it’s an Idols song — it’s kind of not something I’d choose to release. I’m being diplomatic. This competition has made me look like I’m into pop, but I’m not.”
Alternative Idol contestants – Jacob Butler & Matt Corby
When Sam Simmons interviewed him on the red carpet at the ARIAs for Triple J, Corby stated that he’s already trying to get away from the ‘whole Idol thing’. Simmons replied “Well it’s going to be hard buddy, coz you’re in it.”
It’s not really a wise career move for an independent style performer to appear on Australian Idol. They won’t win. No hope against the Christina Aguilera impersonators. So when their time ends and they’re back on the pub/club circuit trying to be cool again, the local labels will remember the Idol time and it will prove a hindrance.
Let’s be honest now. It shouldn’t. But in the world of independent music, it’s this ‘selling out’ that will hurt their signing chances more than dodgy pitch or a boring chorus.
November 12, 2007
Ford have produced a couple of cheeky cricket advertisements to plug their Backyard Series Cricket promotion. The two advertisements feature current Australian cricketers Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey.
The first spot, entitled ‘Whose Rules?’ begins with Clarke nicking a ball to the fence. Hayden claims that he’s out, automatic wickey, Symonds looks confused and Hussey agrees with Hayden. Hussey says ‘Rules are rules’ and Symonds retorts, ‘oh yeah, whose rules?’ A staring contest follows before Bill Lawry’s head appears out a window saying ‘Hey boys, I think this means war.’
The second spot, ‘One – Zip’ begins with rain pouring down in the backyard. Hussey insists that it’s fine to play, whereas Clarke doesn’t want to play in the wet and Symonds doesn’t want to play because they ‘keep changing the rules all the time.’ After a second sledge from Hayden about him being a ‘pretty boy’, Clarke gets up and says ‘I’m going to Bill’s’ (Lawry). Symonds gets up and follows as the other boys make ‘oooo’ sounds and Hussey says ‘That’s one zip then.’
If you’ve been watching the cricket then I’m sure you’ve already seen these two advertisements a gazillion times. I think I’m sick of them already. Here they are:
The ads are plugging this fancy website thingamy where you can do lots of fun stuff or something.. check it.. here.
Production has begun on a new reality television series set in the restaurant business area. ‘The Chopping Block’ is being created by David Barbour and Julian Cress, the folks who gave us such offerings as The Block, Celebrity Overhaul and Celebrity Circus. It will be hosted by Catriona Rowntree (Getaway) and chef Matt Moran (a former judge on Seven’s My Restaurant Rules).
Producers David Barbour and Julian Cress
The series is being shot both in Melbourne and Sydney where two restaurants will compete each week for a $20 000 cash prize. The restaurants will first receive a review by a secret critic, before being then given $5 000 to overhaul their eatery in 3 days under the guidance of Moran. The businesses will then be scrutinised again and the restaurant who has made the most improvement will get the big ones.
The concept actually sounds quite interesting. I’m liking the fact that we’ll be seeing new restaurants every week – the latter weeks of My Restaurant Rules and The Block start to become a bit boring when it’s just same old, same old. I also believe that Matt Moran is a really good television personality and Nine have been very smart in picking him up.
Celebrity Chef – Matt Moran
The show will air in 2008.
November 11, 2007
Erin McNaught, former Australian representative for the Miss Universe pageant, has signed a lease to move into Ramsay St.
You may remember that McNaught was a controversial contestant in the Miss Universe after it was discovered that she had posed topless for lads magazine ‘Zoo Weekly’. She was still allowed to compete in the contest, however she earned the (very creative) nickname of Erin ‘McNaughty’.
She has since gone on to host the late night channel 10 geek show ‘Cyber Shack’ where she smiles lots and talks about gadgets.
.. and no, of course this post wasn’t just an excuse to post a picture of the very um.. nicely proportioned Miss McNaught.
November 9, 2007
The ABC will not be attending the AFI Awards in December, and will therefore not funding the attendance of any nominee from the network.
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.
“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.”
November 8, 2007
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.
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.
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).
Channel Seven have issued a statement confirming the departure of Shelley Craft from the Great Outdoors. She has been a reporter on the travel show since 2001 following stints on Saturday Disney, Perfect Match, Guinness World Records and various sporting event telecasts.
“Reporting for The Great Outdoors is a dream job but it’s also hard work. I’ve given it six wonderful years and now and feel I’ve achieved everything I could within the role. I’m incredibly proud of the stories that I’ve done but now I’m looking forward to a change, some new challenges and seeing the world in my own time.”
I can’t really say that this is bad news. No, it’s not that I don’t like her – in fact it’s quite the opposite. I reckon she’s great. She has a really nice, warm personality and lights up the screen on every television show where she appears. I’m hoping that her departure from the Great Outdoors might mean that she will be given roles on some half-decent shows that I might actually bother to watch. One can dream.