Category Archives: Regular Features

News: Top Gear Season 17 Episode 5 Details Revealed

From Wikipedia,

“Jeremy Clarkson and James May take a trip to the seaside in electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and the Peugeot iOn. Jeremy Clarkson also drives the new F1 style Lotus and Richard Hammond spends the day with a rally team, the members are all ex-military amputees.”

The special guest will be Simon Cowell, quite astoundingly making his third appearance on the popular motoring show (his first in series 3, and his next in series 10).

This will be the second last episode for the series.

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Quick Opinion: Want To See What A Live Can of Worms Would Look Like? (It’s Better)

So, we all know there’s been a small but ever-expanding chorus of people calling for Ten’s new, controversial program Can of Worms to be broadcast live.

I happen to be one of them, and think that not only would this make for a more edge-of-your seat viewing experience, but would also alleviate the need to make such jarring edits (in order to adjust the show to run the appropriate time).

And today, I got a mini-taste of what this would look like when Ten released this segmentyoutu.be/ffdB6hDIOQk featuring the Wrong-O-Meter which didn’t make the cut.

Take a look at it, and tell me that the show wouldn’t be made instantly better if it was all more like this. You might notice a couple of things; you actually see guests thinking about their responses (making it seem less constrictive and more organic), Dicko actually gets out of his seat and- gasp- speaks without the aid of an autocue. And yes, though pauses and stumbles over his words a bit, it seems instantly more natural and engaging.

So Ten, just bite the bullet and make it live! But what do I know…

News: Mick Malthouse’s Silence is Telling on The Footy Show: “I can’t turn the tap off”

Mick Malthouse appeared on the AFL Footy Show on Thursday night, and it really was a masterclass in terms of hard-hitting interviews.

Sam Newman- who conducted most of the interview- prodded Mick on his role at Collingwood next year.

Sam, impressively, honed in on one point and one point in particular- if he trusts Eddie to provide him with the right role next year (as Director of Coaching), why won’t he say “categorically” that he will be at Collingwood under Nathan Buckley.

Malthouse’s bemused silence after some of his questions really said it all. He also admitted that there is a chance he won’t be at Collingwood next year.

If we have learnt anything from Sam’s questioning, it’s that all this is still very much up in the air, or as Sam says, the “door” is still “wide open”.

But, even though there is still raging speculation, there were some things that Mick could confidently say.

He got Mick to say categorically “If the job’s not right”, he won’t be there.

James Brayshaw also tipped in with a very tough question indeed: If he was Buckley, “Would (he) want to be in that situation (with Mick Malthouse looking over everything he does)?”

This was also met with silence and more obfuscation.

Mick also admitted that he “can’t turn the tap off” (referring to an analogy about the passion for coaching being like a tap that you can’t turn on or off), signifying that he may not be able to just stop coaching, even though his wife may want him to for the moment.

But the most brilliant quotes actually came from Sam, who summed up the situation perfectly.

“His players want him to stay on as coach (and) Nanette [his wife] is ticked-off beyond belief (that he might be coaching again).”

… Also met with silence.

Above all, despite all the criticism The Footy Show draws, it still serves as a guide to how to ask the hard questions of someone, not to mention Sam’s disarmingly laconic style of interview being a remarkably successful one after all these years.

The show also featured a moving tribute to Allan “Yabby” Jeans, featuring Dermott Brereton telling of the last chat he ever had to him.

Yes, it can be stupid, but moments like these show while it’s still the leader among the footy show pack.

News: AFL Guest Wrap: Round 17

Thursday – The Game Plan (One, 8:30PM)

Hawthorn Captain Sam Mitchell

Carlton star Bryce Gibbs

Melbourne star Brent Moloney (live
from Darwin)

Thursday – Footy Show (Nine, 9:30PM)

Live interview with Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse

Saturday – Before the Game (Ten, 6:30PM)

Collingwood ruckman Darren Jolly

Bombers rising star David Zaharakis

Monday – One Week at a Time (9:30PM)

West Coast forward Mark LeCras

News: Solid Ratings For Can Of Worms Episode 2

Following on from my mostly positive review of episode two of Can of Worms, it seems the rest of Australia thought the same thing. In Can of Worms’ second outing, it actually built on its pretty good ratings from episode 1 of 930,000, to post a very solid 980,000.

This means more than a couple of things about the show, here they are;

Andrew Denton’s good track-record was enough to overcome a very uneven premiere, which opened up cans of worms than it probably wouldn’t like.

The show was advertised as being from the makers behind “The Gruen Transfer” and “Enough Rope”. If it was from any other producer, the premiere would almost be enough to turn everyone off- especially judging from the negative Twitter reception.

The show was actually markedly better, and is winning positive reviews from some very noteworthy reviewers.

Reviews from respected people such as David Knox at TV Tonight not only provide an authoritative view, but lets viewers know they are onto a good thing.

The fact that it built on its previous week’s episode shows that any publicity is good publicity, or at least, it didn’t damage the brand irreperably.

Though I disliked the inclusion of Jason Akermanis and his comments about suicide (he labelled it “selfish”), it is clear he was regarded as an aberration.

 

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Review: Can of Worms Episode 2

The best thing I can say about this weeks “Worms” is that it definitely smoothed out the rough edges this week.

There was less jolting tone shifts, and while it is far from a “winner”, in terms of quality, it is sure finding its footing.

One of the only problems I have with the show lies right at the core of it- which is worrying-in the “worms” themselves.

First of all, how is the question about “burqas” opening a “Can of Worms”- surely that is one Can that has never been closed in recent memory.

So, doesn’t that actually preclude it from being an actual Can of Worms??

The only way I could excuse it is that it hasn’t actually been in the media for a couple of weeks- but then what does that say about the show? It’s got its finger horribly off the public pulse? What about something about the Carbon Tax, or would that be too current? Remember this show is only filmed one day before it airs, not two weeks.

So basically, if it’s going to use “current” issues as catalysts for debate, why not use current ones?

In the “Moral minefield” segment, there were also questions such as “Have You Ever Used a Disabled Toilet”… Yes, not “Is Using a Disabled Toilet Wrong”… If you get the distinction.

Meshel Laurie’s role in the show still puzzles me. She sits on the end, and sometimes explains how a game works, and sometimes doesn’t. And when she does, it is still something that could be largely covered by Dicko.

However, she really comes into her own when she is allowed to act as a kind of moderator who reacts to things said in the debate- which she started to become largely in the last “swearing” debate.

And the guests? Well, they were a vast improvement on last week’s as I predicted. They were all able to showcase their strong personalities as well as bring up examples from their lives to add to the debate. And the fact that there was only one comedian really worked- having two or more can really put pressure on the guests to make the show funny, when the focus should be on the debate.

And the “comedian” Tom Ballard tried very, very hard indeed. He made, by my count three callbacks- these included saying or was OK to use a disabled toilet because he was a “poofter” (this related to an earlier question asking whether it was acceptable to call someone a “poofter”). However, overall, he came off as intelligent and eloquent, and actually very opinionated.

Jessica Rowe was, well, nice. She isn’t really the type of person that goes out to upset anyone, but isn’t afraid to take a strong point of view. She also spent most of the show being outraged, or offended at comments made on either side of her. Hence, she was symbolically placed in the middle. But while Jessica was pretty good, surely the show can find a woman (or two) who might actually outrage or offend people (I’m talking people like Em Rusciano, Mia Freedman- NOT people like Catherine Deveny here).

Don Burke sat in the “controversial loud-mouth” seat, but strangely, he wasn’t nowhere near as irritating as Jason Akermanis was the week before. Sure, he was a bit cranky, a bit “Grumpy Old Man”, a bit deranged ex-TV personality… He was still an interesting spectacle to behold. Though he did go a bit overboard in some parts- staring at Jessica Rowe’s breasts, dropping F-bombs (because there was a worm about swearing, see)… He is probably the ideal type of guest for the show; unpredictable, uninhibited and slightly unstable. And though you may disagree with some things he says, at least he is never completely unreasonable- an important factor in a show like this; even when views are put forth that you don’t agree with, at least they could make you consider their point of view.

Most importantly, though, the guests actually interacted with each other, and actually debated.

This was also an aspect that was applied to other aspects of the show, with more audience interaction, and actual live tweets- what a novel idea…

Dicko was also better, and the few moments where he actually went off-the-cuff were some of his best moments on the show. But, until he appears more natural on the auto-cue, they need to cut the “witty” throws to ad-breaks and introductions to new worms. Seeing him pause awkwardly as he reads not only devalues a decent show, but stifles Dicko’s personality further (he already has to remain semi-impartial as a host).

Overall, a considerable improvement on the first episode, and at least it shows that producers are listening to viewer feedback. It focused the show on debating issues, and made for a less cluttered product. It still needs to focus its worms a bit more, but with some more good guest selection should more than make up for it.

News: The Gruen Transfer is Back August 3 with a New Show!

Gruen fans rejoice, the revolutionary show about advertising is back, and here’s the airdate;

ABC1, Wednesday, August 3, 9pm

And as usual, in its off-season, there has been a veritable treasure trove of advertising-goodness to mine. The press release cites “crazy mining ads, Big Tobacco campaigns, gambling messages invading every sport program on TV, the social media monster of Vodafail, NAB pretending it has no friends…” as all topics to be dismantled over its run.

And in other news, there’s also another Gruen show to add to the Gruen-stable, and it’s called Gruen Planet (following on from the success of last year’s Gruen Nation).

Here’s the official description:

A “show that will look at the news of the week through the prism of spin, branding and image control. We can’t tell you much about it yet, because … well, because it’s still a secret. Mostly. ”

It sounds, in essence, pretty similar to Gruen Nation, except more sbout news in general. The part they can’t tell us is likely to do with the assembly of personalities on the panel- will there be two regular guests like there is on The Gruen Transfer or a set panel of guests like Gruen Nation. Will Annabel Crabb be back?

Either way, it sounds exciting, and will be another huge hit for the ABC.

And just to reassure you that the Gruen Transfer will be back in all its glory, here’s what else the press-release has to say about it, including a new segment:

“Inimitable host Wil Anderson will once again pick apart the seams of advertising with the extraordinary Russel Howcroft and Todd Sampson, ably supported by our rotating panel of Dan Gregory, Dee Madigan, Jeremy Nicholas, Bridget Taylor, Jane Caro, Rowan Dean and Carolyn Miller.

Old favourite segments including The Pitch – where two agencies compete to sell the unsellable – will return, along with another End-Of-Show Quest. Last year we voted for The Worst Ad Of All Time. This year, we’re pushing that idea further, hoping to identify and celebrate … (drum roll) … The Worst Product Of All Time!”

This will be the Gruen Transfer’s fourth season produced by Zapruder’s Other Films and ABC-TV.

 

News: Manu Feildel Wins Dancing With the Stars 2011!

Manu has continued not only his stellar run on Dancing With the Stars, but also his run on Channel Seven by winning Dancing With The Stars, in what has to be one of the more popular wins.

He beat Hayley Bracken to the title, after Damien Leith was eliminated earlier in the night.

Manu’s newfound popularity was only illustrated further by the first promo for his show “Dinner Date” premiering.

News: PM to appear on Q and A again

In what is sure to be one of the biggest fights of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s short period in the top job, she will appear on Q and A to try to sell her party’s Carbon Tax to the people.

This is already the second time this year she has appeared on the popular ABC program- the first being on March 14. She also appeared last year as a part of her election campaign.

But this will arguably be the most compelling of all- her popularity is at an all-time low, and she is copping a hammering in the media.

However, Gillard has always performed well on Q and A, in terms of the way she comes across, at least (leaving aside policies for a minute) and her last two appearances have at least managed to make her seem more human.

Her only downfall is her propensity to nervously giggle at difficult questions- a disarming technique which at first seems charming, but soon becomes irritating and all-too contrived.

In fairness to her, however, she doesn’t tend to shirk questions, and always gives an answer, however weak you may perceive it to be.

Watch for these questions, though, and if she decides to (or has been instructed to) deal with them differently;

-The “backflip”/the “lie” over the carbon tax (her pre-election promise).

-What effect will pricing carbon in Australia have when the world’s biggest emitters are not adopting a similar strategy.

Regardless, it will be a ratings bonanza for the ABC once again.

The press release says:

“The ABC is pleased to announce that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will join Tony Jones in a special episode of Q&A, live to air on Monday, 11 July at 9.35pm on ABC1, the day after announcing her carbon tax pricing policy.

Can she deliver the most significant economic reform for a generation? What are the details and how will they affect you?”

News: Sam Newman has crack at Sam Lane for Double Standards… Again!

In what must be one of the most low-key, yet heated rivalries in the AFL, Sam Newman has thrown another barb at Before the Game panelist Samantha Lane.

Channel Ten was successfully sued this week for $85,000 after Nicole Cornes accused Mick Molloy of damaging her character after he implied that she slept with an AFL player.

Sam Newman, obviously still holding a grudge after she wrote a critical piece slamming the Footy Show for their treatment of women, blasted Samantha Lane tonight for not writing a similarly condemnatory piece about her colleague Mick Molloy (she sits next to him on the Ten program).

Of course, this is not the first time Sam Newman, or in fact the Footy Show has accused Samantha of double standards. After she wrote her piece, The Footy Show highlighted how Samantha (who admittedly probably wasn’t responsible for writing the joke) laughed as the Before the Game team mocked at-the-time AFL player Nick Stevens for his apparent weight issues.

Tonight, Sam Newman began by calling Samantha “Sally Lane” and bringing up Mick’s trial verdict, and musing “I though she would probably come out with a piece (condemning Molloy)”.

But then he jokingly mentioned that it “…takes a couple of weeks for her to get outraged”.

He brought up again the fact that she “pasted” them over their actions, finally accusing her of “Selective outrage”, or double standards, given “she works on the same show (as Molloy)”.

He finished by saying “Maybe, Sally, you could actually write something about the show you’re on”.

Its hard to disagree that Samantha could be accused of only criticising opponents, and reserving public judgement on issues that may affect her employment, it’s difficult to start throwing around phrases such as “conflict of interest”.

Why? Because you’d be hard-pressed to find a media identity in the AFL these days who didn’t have some conflict of interest of some sort.

Eddie McGuire, to name but one, is the most obvious example, due to his status as President of the Collingwood Football Club, as well as the host of a Monday to Friday breakfast radio show, where he puts forth opinions, as well as breaks news about other clubs.

However, a more pertinent example would be none other than James Brayshaw. He is the President of the North Melbourne Football Club, but also has a drive-time radio show, calls the football on weekends and also hosts TWO football TV shows.

And though Sam Newman criticized Samantha for “selective” outrage, he could just the same point the same finger at the bloke next to him.

Only a couple of months ago, Sam Newman himself was the subject of a warning from ACMA over some “racist” comments he made about a Malaysian man.

In case you needed reminding, Sam Newman blatantly called the man a “monkey” and said he was “not long out of the forest”.

However, on the night, neither James Brayshaw or Garry Lyon made any attempt to castigate him (on air), let alone silence him- something, many may argue was in their best interests.

However, like Samantha Lane, Brayshaw is very willing to (rightfully) condemn others for similar displays of racism (he criticized a man who racially abused AFL player Majak Daw), only in Brayshaw’s case, he used the forum of his radio show, rather than a regular newspaper column.

Brayshaw would hardly have been expected to criticise Sam Newman in a similar way, so why should Sam be expected? It’s just really double standards on top of double standards- they’re everywhere, and at the end of the day, both parties come off looking a little silly.

While I don’t expect them to stop anytime soon, this fiery exchange could likely be brought to an abrupt end, with Samantha Lane’s Before the Game in great doubt for next year- so maybe The Footy Show will get the unlikely last laugh.