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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: Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year AIRDATE

Here it is… Thursday July 28th 8:30PM for ten weeks! On Channel Nine!

News: Sandra Bullock joins Life Too Short


Sandra Bullock will join the growing list of A-list celebrities on Ricky Gervais’ new mockumentary Life’s Too Short.

She is the next star to be announced, after Sting, last month.

Steve Carrell will also appear.

The show will also feature Johnny Depp, Les Dennis, “Cheggars” (Keith Chegwin) and Barry off Eastenders (Shaun Williamson). The last three appeared in Gervais and Merchant’s last series Extras.

Gervais also teases the possibility of more big-name guest-stars including “…another big face from The Office… And something for Dr Who fans.”

The series is certainly shaping up to be massive in terms of guest-stars, making it similar to Extras in that sense (Gervais has described it as a cross between Extras and The Office).

You can almost be guaranteed that there will be more to come!

Ratings: Can of Worms Debut: Good, but not Great

Monday night’s premiere episode of the Dicko hosted Can of Worms has not exactly set the world alight, but it hasn’t bombed either.

It pulled 930,000 in the competitive timeslot of 8:30PM. This is less than what Offspring normally takes in the same timeslot, though that will not be of much concern.

It was, however, narrowly beaten by Seven’s The Amazing Race Australia, at around 1m viewers, but Worms managed to edge out Nine’s Rescue- not a difficult feat.

So while coming second in a time-slot may seem fine, Ten will still be holding its breath for week 2. Firstly, because you expect a heap more people to tune in for a show’s premiere due to the large curiosity factor. Then you have to factor in the interest generated in the show by the promos/billboards which have now been running for weeks.

Safe to say that when you take away all that it will be expected to lose around 200k viewers.

But even then, who, at this stage will actually come back for a second helping? The vast majority of the public are notoriously fickle in their viewing habits, and tend to make snap judgements about shows based on their first episode.

And based on the mostly negative response on Twitter last night, it would be hard to imagine people would come back for more.

And there are the “turn-off” factors: things that create negative word-of-mouth. There’s Dicko’s awkward delivery, confusing format and the presence of people such as Jason Akermanis.

Also, the fact that there is a Twitter feed at the bottom of the screen… But doesn’t show current tweets (the show is pre-recorded) that react to proceedings, is a huge, huge hindrance, and will be likely to rub many of the Tweeters up the wrong way- and that’s hardly a sector of the audience they want to alienate.

Reviews are also coming out, and they also aren’t that pretty- not a good sign for picking up new viewers (we won’t see it rise above 1m, based on that fact).

So what hope does it have heading into week 2? It has to be smarter in its guest selection- if it were to nab a genuinely popular personality, one that was controversial but also funny, it would go a long way. It might even need a big-name, whether they’re controversial or not- just to add some interest to the show.

And the show needs to iron out the kinks quickly, and make sure Dicko starts the show more confidently.

And is it a serious show with some laughs (see The Gruen Transfer) or a slightly harder edged Good News Week – a laff-fest, but with actual serious opinion expressed.

Opinion: Can Nine Reclaim Some Glory?

Channel Nine is currently undergoing a resurgence of sorts, after a very lacklustre start to the year.

After heavily promoting the fourth series of The Block in its new 7PM timeslot, it has proven a decent new alternative in its first week on air.

Of course, its strong first week figures will be slightly inflated due to the massive publicity push, but it has arguably begun to turn around Nine’s fortunes.

And let’s face it, any old show that can pull half-decent figures for Nine (we’re talking over a million) will be more than welcome on its schedule, as its first half of the year has certainly been one to forget for the network.

After starting the year touting itself as the “Home of Comedy” it put forth its first offering in the form of Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth. And we all know how that one ended:

Low ratings combined with the worst critical reception to a show in recent memory made for a genuine, out-and-out stinker of a show.

Faced with failure, Nine felt it had no choice but to flog the hell out of its imports in Two and a Half Men and Top Gear, two programs that had done very well for the network in 2010.

However, repeating these “hit shows” ad nauseam led to viewer fatigue, and pretty soon they began turning off in droves.

Today, Top Gear is nowhere to be seen on Nine’s main channel, with Two and a Half Men pushed late into the night. You can find it now at 10:30PM on a Tuesday night.

Continue reading after the jump…

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US TV Shows on Twitter Index



Official Show Account

Joel McHale (Jeff)

Donald Glover (Troy)

Alison Brie (Annie)

Gillian Jacobs (Britta)

Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley)

Danny Pudi (Abed)

Jim Rash (Dean Pelton)

Ken Jeong (Chang)


Tim SaccardoEmily CutlerNeil GoldmanChris McKennaAdam CounteeGarrett DonovanKarey DornettoSona PanosAndy BobrowMegan GanzHilary WinstonAndrew Guest, Dino Stamatopoulos

Dan Harmon (Creator)

The Office 

Official Show Account

Rainn Wilson

Mindy Kaling

Brian Baumbgartner

BJ Novak

Ed Helms

Angela Kinsey

Craig Robinson

Melora Hardin

Official Fictional Character Accounts

Erin Hannon

Kelly Kapoor

Ryan Howard

Creed Bratton


Danny ChunAaron ShureSteve Hely (S7)


Paul Feig

Notable Unofficial Fan Accounts

Office Tally

30 Rock

Official Show Account

Tina Fey – No Known Account


Tracey Morgan (Tracey Jordan)

Judah Friedlander (Frank)

Grizz Chapman (Grizz)

Kevin Brown (Dot Com)

Sherri Shepherd (Angie)

Katrina Bowden (Cerie)

Official Fictional Character Accounts

Frank Rossitano

Tracy Jordan 

Jenna Maroney

Jack Donaghy (Inactive)

Liz Lemon (Inactive)


Josh Siegal, John Riggi, Tracey Wigfield, Tom Ceraulo, Kay Cannon, Jack Burditt


Official Show Account

Mekenna Melvin (Alex)

Zachary Levi (Chuck)

Joshua Gomez (Morgan)

Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah)

Adam Baldwin (John)

Scott Krinsky (Jeff)

Mark Christopher Lawrence (Locked) (Big Mike)

Josh Schwartz (Creator)

Matt Barber (Editor)

Harry’s Law

Official Show Account

Kathy Bates – No Known Account

Aml Ameen (Malcolm Davies)

Brittany Snow (Jenna Backstrom)

Parks and Recreation

Official Show Account

Amy Poehler – No Known Account

Chris Pratt (Andy)

Adam Scott (Ben)

Aziz Ansari (Tom)

Official Fictional Character Accounts

Ron Swanson


Michael Schur (Co-creator)

Law and Order SVU

Official Show Account

Law and Order

Official Show Account

Friday Night Lights

Official Show Account


Official Show Account

America’s Got Talent

Official Show Account

Piers Morgan

Howie Mandel

Sharon Osbourne

Nick Cannon


Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Laura Prepon – No Known Account

Chelsea Handler

Jo Koy

Lauren Lapkus

Natalie Morales


Dylan Minnette

Laura Allen

B.D. Wong

Wilmer Valderrama



Amanda Peet – No Known Account

Jeffrey Tambor


Official Show Account

Whitney Cummings

Chris D’Elia

Up All Night

Official Show Account

Free Agents

Official Show Account 

Hank Azaria


Official Show Account 

Bitsie Tulloch

Sean Hayes

Reggie Lee

Sasha Rolz


Official Network Account

AMC News

Breaking Bad

Offical Show Account

Bryan Cranston – No Known Account

Aaron Paul – No Known Account

Anna Gunn (Skylar) – No Known Account

Mad Men

Official Show Account


Official Network Account

The Big Bang Theory

Official Show Account

Kaley Cuoco (Penny)

Bill Prady – Executive Producer

Simon Helberg (Howard)




Two and a Half Men

The Late Show With David Letterman

Official Show Account

Late Show Writers

Mike McInteeMatt RobertsJill GoodwinChris BelairJoe GrossmanPaul MasellaLee EllenbergJeremy WeinerSteve Young

Justin Stangel (Executive Producer/Head Writer)

Eric Stangel (Executive Producer/Head Writer)



Jesse Spencer (Chase)

Omar Epps (Foreman)

Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy)

Olivia Wilde (Thirteen)

Greg Yaitanes (Executive Producer/Director)



Thomas Jane

Charlie Saxton (Damon)

Writers’ assistants

Inside Hung

True Blood

Official Show Account

Ashley Jones (Daphne Landry)

Kristin Bauer (Pam)

Joe Manganiello (Alcide)

Janina Gavankar  (Luna)

Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte)

Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse)

Carrie Preston (Arlene Fowler)

Courtney Ford (Portia Bellefleur)


Nurse Jackie

Official Show Account

Edie Falco – No Known Account

Stephen Wallem (Thor)

Anna Deavere Smith (Akalitus)

Peter Facinelli (Dr Fitch Cooper)

Lenny Jacobson (Lenny)

Official Fictional Character Accounts

Dr Fitch Cooper


Official Show Account

Evan Handler


Official Show Account

Edward James Olmos

Colin Hanks

Julie Benz (Rita)

John Lithgow (Trinity)


Robert Llyod Lewis


Bill Maher

Conan O’Brien

TV News Wrap: Saturday May 21

  • There’s a bit of “Office” talk floating about after its finale aired on Thursday night in the US. (Minor spoilers for Australian viewers). The response to the barrage of guest stars lining up to be the new boss has received a middling to negative response from most critics. Despite appearances from comedy heavyweights Ray Romano, Jim Carrey, James Spader, Ricky Gervais and Catherine Tate, some critics were scathing in their appraisal. Take Alan Sepinwall of Hitfix

“…I worried that a parade of big name guest stars would not only not fit comfortably into the world of the show but turn the finale into a disjointed mess.

I feel my fears were unfortunately correct with Ferrell’s episode, and they sure seemed correct as I sat through last night’s bumpy, awkward, great big mess of a finale. “

  • In other “Office” news, TVLine’s Michael Ausiello has signalled the possibility that Jenna Fischer’s real-life pregnancy mights be written into the show… which I guess was kind of necessary? I mean the other choice was to write her out of the show for a block of episodes Tracy Jordan/Morgan-style, which wouldn’t be a bad thing for The Office given the increasing staleness of the Jim-Pam dynamic. But nothing is set in stone yet.
  • Which stars won’t have a job (well in terms of the TV industry) next season? You’ve got to feel for Lost’s Terry O’Quinn, what a great actor he was in Lost.
  • Did Ricky Gervais really say that The Office jumped the shark in its finale? The internet has gone nuts over what Gervais said in his blog:

“If you’re going to jump a shark, jump a big one.”

The only thing is, he’s referring to the Chris Martin episode of Extras, in which he makes a guest-appearance on: “I think it’s a bit weird, celebrities just popping up in a sitcom”, Gervais’ character says. And now Warren Buffet has popped up on The Office. I think it’s called irony… and “tongue-in-cheek”. And anyway, even if Gervais does think the show has gone to sh-t, he wouldn’t care all that much. And these days, jumping the shark isn’t really used in the same pejorative sense as it first was, and this is just a light-hearted dig anyway…

  • Regardless, the finale still rated well (3.8 rating in 18-49, beating Grey’s Anatomy).
  • Who will play the Ron Swanson’s first ex-wife Tammy in Parks and Recreation. TV Fanatic throws up an interesting, logical choice.
  • In other non-Office related news, for fans of the British TV show Luther, the trailer for its second season has been released. And even if you’re not a fan of the show, or the brilliant Idris Elba, you’ve got to admit that this is a fantastic trailer. You’ve also got to love shows that go out and make great non-plot specific trailers like this which show you something about the character/s in the show, especially with a great song in the background. Soak this up:
  • In Australian TV News, TV Tonight hints at a raunchy episode of Offspring coming up this Monday. For mine, the latest season has seemed to take this sort of turn- which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The premiere kicked off the season well, but let’s just hope this raunchier turn doesn’t turn more conservative viewers off the show. And I think this tweet by comedian Josh Earl nicely summed up the vibe the promos put out for the show:

Between the Lines: The Crappy Art of Replicating a Formula

Here’s one for ya, how big a failure will Nine’s “new” “TV show” be?

A. A “Let Loose Live” failure

B. A “Ben Elton” failure



Too harsh? Possibly. But I’m usually all for giving new Australian shows a go. But I’m less “forgiving” when it comes to Australian shows that are slapped together and thrown into viewers lounge rooms which try to capitalise on the success of another show.

Take the Todd McKenney abomination, You May Be Right. It tried to capitalise on the success of Dancing With the Stars, of which Todd McKenney was the nasty, yet intelligently catty judge, as well as the runaway success that was (and continues to be) Spicks and Specks. With these two elements together, surely Seven was on to a winner? All it needed now was to plug the rest of the panel holes with “celebrities” and other such “funny-funny makers”, as they’re known in the industry. It also, laughably, centred around not only music, but also TV shows and movies, because, you see, this automatically made it better (and different) to Spicks and Specks.

However, it was an unabashed failure. Incidentally, in 2010, a similar attempt was made to presumably relaunch You May Be Right, or at least the concept of it. This time, it came in the form of The White Room. Yes, there were games, a panel, celebs… but, get this: there were TWO hosts this time. Thus, it was better, etc.

Anyway, the point remains, replicating a winning idea remains a difficult, and mostly scorned tactic, especially in the mind of the viewer.

However, it can be done, as was proven in 2010 with the success of My Kitchen Rules, or in other words, MasterChef @ Home But With That French Chef That Was On MasterChef Once Or Twice But Is Now On This Show. And although it’s basically the same show (people put food on a plate to be judged, rinse, repeat), Channel Seven managed to successfully make it look different to MasterChef (though its lower production values may have just been a budget issue). They also didn’t try to top MasterChef (and this was subsequently reflects in its ratings), and hence why many people have commented that it has served as an entree to the main course of MasterChef.

The problem with Ed’s new show, however, comes in the fact that they are trying to throw together all manner of formats and pass it off as a fun new show.

Let’s break it apart: it’s a sports quiz show. But wait, there’s more! From TV website TV Tonight comes the press release:

“Competitors will take part in Q&A segments with pictures, video clips, guessing games, special guest rounds, performance rounds and sporting challenges.”

I sincerely hope Q&A was not slipped in there gratuitously, given the success of the ABC program… actually, I wouldn’t put it past Nine.

And “guessing games” really sound like they will be the winner amongst that group.

Each episode will feature guest appearances from sporting identities who will provide anecdotes from their careers. The teams will then be required to say whether the stories they’ve just heard are true or false.”

Surely it goes without saying for Spicks and Specks viewers, but it sounds eerily similar to a certain game on that show, where contestants must pick the correct anecdote from a choice of three.

“Between The Lines will also include a special segment that gives viewers a rare peek into the locker room to hear never-before-told tales from Australian sporting heroes.”

Soooo, a sports quiz show. There hasn’t been one of them since The Squiz on SBS, and H2H on the ABC. And, of course, we all know where we have seen the “quiz” aspect.

It is also trying to recreate the jokey, blokey atmosphere of the Footy Show by bringing in Dermott Brereton and Billy Brownless, while also bringing in the “new generation” of comics in Mick Molloy and Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald (who are a part of the team on Ten’s Before the Game- one can only guess how this conflict will play out).

It is also combining the “winning” chemistry of Mick Molloy and Eddie McGuire, who have seemingly hit it off big-time after spending mornings together on the Hot Breakfast on Triple M.

There is also the light-hearted panel vibe which has seemingly been pioneered by the folk on The 7pm Project.

They have also had previous form together on TV – fun times.

We all know about Nine’s track-record in 2011. Let’s just say it hasn’t been fantastic.

And Eddie McGuire has had somewhat of a hit with his Million Dollar Drop, as well as Hot Seat, yet it is well known that interstate viewers don’t respond well to him in many other roles.

This isn’t to say I won’t give it a go… but these days, trying to replicate a formula almost invariably sets a show up for failure.

Note: I am aware that Spicks and Specks bares many a similarity to “Never Mind the Buzzcocks”, and the TV Guru has very perceptively alluded to this fact, but I am talking about trying to replicate the often intangible nuances of successful shows in Australia, for example, the chemistry between stars on the show.

FAQs Answered #1: Breaking Bad, Em Rusciano, Community, Bondi Rescue

Monday 11th April

Here are some quick answers to some regular search queries on this site

COMMUNITY has been renewed for a THIRD SEASON – It will premiere around September 2011.

LIGHTS OUT has been CANCELLED by FX, however there is a slim chance that it could get picked up by another network. A very slim chance.

Veronica Milsom was one of the original cast members of Hungry Beast, and is currently starring in its THIRD SEASON, screening on ABC1 at 9:30pm on Wednesdays.
She also featured briefly on the ill-fated Ben Elton Life From Planet Earth, where she played the roles of a Nigella Lawson-type chef, Lady Gaga (a role she also played on Hungry Beast)

Bondi Rescue hasn’t been officially renewed for 2012, but it’s fairly safe to say that it will be coming back, given it’s one of the mainstays of Ten’s schedule.

In terms of Season 4 spoilers for Breaking Bad, check out this post. However, it terms of solid facts, we know for sure that Bryan Cranston has said that one minor-ish character will die very on in the season. And we know that Bob Odenkirk and Jonathon Banks have been linked to other projects.

Emelia Rusciano

Rose to fame in the 2nd year of Australian Idol in 2004.
Has gone on to host various radio shows on the Austereo network, including “Em and Wippa”.
She has since quit radio and now works on Kerri-Anne and the 7pm Project, where she is a regular “Metro Whipper” as part of the Metro Whip-Around segment.
She often appears in the presence of scantily-clad men- some have suggested it is not a coincidence.
However, she is quite funny, and deserves a bigger role- I’d like to see her fill-in on the Circle (not a euphemism).