Blog Archives

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: Samantha Armytage kicked off Dancing with the Stars + Opinion

The competition is heating up… etc. etc.

But we all know who the favourite is: Manu Feildel. We all know who the best dancer is: Haley Bracken.

They would obviously be the final two, and the only question was: who would make up the final 3 that would go into the Grand Final?

It turned out that Samantha Armytage couldn’t garner enough viewer support to lift her off last place in the ratings.

The final 3 next week will be Damien Leith, Manu Feildel and Haley Bracken.

While Samantha Armytage proved to be a good sport, for her sake, it was good to see her eliminated. The process of the judges tearing strips off her week-in, week-out became not only a bloodsport but also an unwatchable cringe-fest.

Helen tried to be as desperately optimistic and constructive as possible while Todd ranged from savaging her one minute to stating that it was not “personal”.

And criticism of her ranged from the bizarre to the just plain unfair.

Last week she was criticised for putting a George Clooney mask on her partner Brendan during rehearsals. McKenney said this was “insulting” to her partner, presumably because it implied she didn’t find him appealing enough. And while I agree somewhat with this sentiment (think what would happen if he or another man did the same to a woman and tacked an Angelina Jolie face on her head), it was clear that Brendan was not offended in the slightest – and Armytage even alluded to this in the pre-dance package- if he wasn’t insulted, where is the issue?

And also, most of those stunts are cooked up by producers- do they think the couples have enough time in between 9 hour rehearsals to organise stupid stunts like that?

And it was only a couple of weeks before that that her and Lara Bingle  were accused of not working hard enough.

Now I can’t speak for Lara Bingle, but we all know that Samantha Armytage has a job most weekends working on Weekend Sunrise. And when you’re being battered from pillar to post no matter what you do, where is the motivation meant to come from to start working hard?

And anyway, when did this stop being a dancing celebrity competition and start being a celebrity dancing competition?

Seemingly, the judges, namely Todd McKenney now demand celebrities to work themselves to the bone in order to become good dancers, so that they can judge them at the level of professional dancers, rather than celebrities just having a bit of fun.

And you may say that the judges know that scathing criticism is more of a ratings-puller that fawning adoration, but you could argue now that the judges are getting just a little bit too caught up in the competition, and less about the fun of dancing.

I found it contradictory that one week, they would tell people to relax and enjoy themselves, and the next, pick apart their dancing, clothing, work-rate, effort, facial expression and pre-dance package comments (see Lara Bingle’s swipe at McKenney for criticising her hair arrangement). How could anyone relax under those conditions?

But in saying all that, the final should be at least decent viewing because the playing field is the most equal it has been all season.

And there are still a couple of interesting questions still to be answered;

Will Manu be able to topple Hayley?

Will Todd McKenney and Joshua Horner’s simmering tension boil over?

Yes… just a couple of questions.

Opinion: Can of Worms: Will Denton open a Can of Beast, Tench or Gruen??

Another month, another “Zapruder’s Other Films” program premieres.

In recent times, Andrew Denton and Anita Jacoby’s production company has churned out shows including Hungry Beast, AFP, The Gruen Transfer and Gruen Nation, all to varying degrees of success.

On the whole, there is a consensus that shows that they formulate are new and inventive, if nothing else. Before their respective premieres, they are also shrouded in secrecy, with man of the key talent kept under wraps, as well as the format, premise and general feel of the show.

This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to predict the success of the show. Their policy of secrecy is a double-edged sword, as obviously not knowing anything about the show builds up a sort of mystique, and of course builds the curiosity factor. It also encourages people to watch the show for the central premise, rather than fob it off after seeing a personality one dislikes on the promo (Dicko is nowhere to be seen on the talking-head promos, despite the fact that he is the host).

On the other hand, the vague “Australia, we need to talk” tagline is not quite explicit enough for some people to feel an urge to tune in.

The “talking heads” that appear to discuss various issues which touch on “porn”, religion and the internet. So its clear that we’re in line for some modern, frank discussion. Presumably there is a newfound market for this kind of discussion, what with these type of discussions being brought up frequently on Q and A.

Obviously the show wants “Australia” to start talking. It wants families to start these type of discussions in their own house. This will create further word-of-mouth between friends, etc. etc.

Whether the show is aiming to set the agenda on new issues or rather react to issues in the news is unknown.

So, what do we know we can expect?

Read on to find out…

Read the rest of this entry

Opinion: Dancing vs. MasterChef: A Weary Battle


Yes, it’s early days; MasterChef is just commencing its fourth week and Dancing has only just had its fourth instalment.

MasterChef is now in its third series, and Dancing with the Stars is in its eleventh, however for the sake of comparison, let’s call it its fourth series in its newest iteration under new host Daniel McPherson.

On Sunday nights of late, viewers are seemingly spoilt for choice when it comes to reality competitions. Dancing kicks off at 6:30PM and MasterChef at 7:30PM, and this is accurately represented in the ratings figures.

Week 1: Dancing (1,505,000) beat MasterChef (1,503,000)

Week 2: Dancing (1,613,000) beat MasterChef (1,409,000)

Week 3: MasterChef (1,511,000) beat Dancing (1,429,000)

Source: TV Tonight

Due to this close ratings tussle, it would seem as if both shows are churning out more quality addictive content; more drama, more competitiveness, new twists, etc.

And to some extent this is true.

We have seen criticism of personal jibes at contestants (Dancing), controversy over cheating claims (Masterchef), professionals and judges spats (Dancing), spectacular triumphs and cringeworthy train-wrecks (both).

However, haven’t we seen it all before?

Read the rest of this entry

TV News Wrap: Monday May 23

  • In Australian news, after the Brynne Edelsten controversy, now Manu Feildel is being accused of being sexist on Dancing With the Stars due to his comments in regard to his partner “bossing him around” in his kitchen. It doesn’t really warrant much talking about, as even though on the surface they might seem slightly sexist, there is obviously no malice attached to them, especially given Manu’s look of mystification after the comments were made. What made it wore, apparently, was the fact that the audience “booed”- which, But here are the comments anyway:

“The problem was that the staff around me, I usually tell them what to do. Suddenly a woman was telling me what to do in front of everyone.”

But one thing is for sure, Channel Seven will be delighted, bordering on ecstatic, that another headline or three has been generated.

  • Don’t you hate it when two of your TV shows that you have filmed pilots for get picked up by different networks and you’re forced to pull out from one of them? That’s what happened to Nancy Travis, maybe best known for her work as the mother in Three Men and a Baby, but has since gone on to star in a multitude of other projects in TV and film (most recently, a brief stint on Desperate Housewives). Travis has had to pull out of her recurring guest role in the CW’s upcoming show, Hart of Dixie (Rachel Bilson’s TV comeback) to keep her role in ABC’s Last Man Standing (Tim Allen’s TV comeback).
  • So, Ken Jeong hosted the 2011 Billboard Music Awards (“Chang” from Community, Mr Chow from The Hangover). It seemed slightly manic and occasionally funny, but he definitely deserves respect for his piano-playing abilities… less so for his singing, but either way, it marks another step in his meteoric rise. Take a look at the opening number:
  • And for lack of anything else exciting, here’s a promo for the Modern Family Season 2 finale entitled “The One That Got Away”, the 24th episode of the season. We’re likely to see various reviews and critiques of the entire season, given the universal praise it received for its first season. It’s almost agreed upon that the second season didn’t really match the wit and originality of the first, and while there were some very good episodes, some others relied too heavily on tired sitcom tropes. But here’s the promo for the finale and the synopsis;
“Jay wants nothing more than to have a quiet birthday out fishing on the lake, but the family take that as him wanting a big celebration, and in their frantic scramble to put everything together, Claire and Mitchell wind up trapped in the yard of their childhood home; Phil runs into his old college nemesis while at the mall with Gloria and Lily; Cameron gets himself into some hot water at the bakery, and the kids frantically do some creative editing on grandpa’s birthday video, all of which leaves Jay with a headache.”

Shows on Australian TV: Seven – X Factor gets a 2nd chance

Private Practice (US 4th Season *renewed for a 5th*, AU 4th Season)

My Kitchen Rules (Currently in SECOND SEASON) Renewed for a third on 02/03/2011.

The X Factor (ONE SEASON has aired) – Mediocre ratings for its first season, but it has still been renewed for a 2nd season (or third if you include the season that aired on Ten) on 14/03/2011. This year will presumably feature a more prominent youth focus.

Packed to the Rafters (Currently in FOURTH SEASON)

It has been ratings its socks off- well, as much as a show does these days. Here are its ratings from Week 5 onwards.

Monday: 1,461,000 (1st in Time slot, 1st for the night)

Home and Away (Currently in TWENTY-FOURTH SEASON)

Better Homes and Gardens (Currently in FOURTEENTH SEASON – SEVENTH in new format with Joanna Griggs in Friday 7:30pm slot)

Deal or No Deal – (Currently in NINTH SEASON)

Border Security – (Currently in SEVENTH SEASON)

Sunday Night- (Currently in THIRD SEASON) – It is a real asset for Seven, and if it can maintain good ratings, boosts its news credibility- even though it has been criticised in recent times.


Cougar Town – Seven (US 2nd season – hiatus -, AU 2nd season)

Desperate Housewives – Seven (US 7th season, AU 7th season)

Grey’s Anatomy – Seven (US 7th season, AU 7th season)

Kath and Kim (FOUR SEASONS have aired) – Technically waiting for the Gina Riley and Jane Turner to decide whether they want to do any more series, yet with constant rumours and no new projects on the horizon, I believe at least a “Final Season” is inevitable.

The Matty Johns Show (Currently in SECOND SEASON)

Minute to Win It (SECOND SEASON yet to air)

Dancing with the Stars (ELEVENTH SEASON yet to air) – There’s only so much life in this show, and is the last remnant of the singing/dancing competition obsession of the 2000s.

Australia’s Got Talent (FOURTH SEASON yet to air) – Just a matter of waiting until the “talent” pool dries up, à la Australian Idol 2009.

The Amazing Race Australia (FIRST SEASON yet to air) – If it can generate enough buzz, Seven will have a juggernaut on its hands.

Brothers and Sisters

Thank God You’re Here (FOUR SEASONS have aired)- Unlikely that Working Dog would film a fifth season, as there are not many more avenues to explore in creative terms.

Iron Chef Australia (ONE SEASON has aired) – Average ratings coupled with a different tone and pace might make Seven think twice about renewing it. It also operated around a central gimmick of being based on the original Iron Chef- something that Masterchef purposely steered away from- and for good reason.

Winners and Losers (FIRST SEASON yet to air) – I know that you shouldn’t judge a show’s prospects before you know the figures it will pull, but I just don’t have a good feeling about this. It’s a big ask from Seven to make Australia fall in love with another group of people (in addition to the Rafters, of course), and while they couldn’t adopt the same tone, their decision to opt for a more quirky and humorous tone doesn’t bode well. Australians don’t tend to go for quirky over real emotion too readily, as was demonstrated with Offspring’s first few episodes. It also isn’t based around cops or doctors, and there almost certainly won’t be any gratuitous nudity, so it will be really swimming against the tide.


City Homicide* (Currently in FOURTH SEASON, a miniseries to come)

*No official word on cancellation, but unless the miniseries rates spectacularly, and Winners and Losers is a dismal failure, it is as good as cancelled.