Abuse News You Can Use

… or alternatively “Actor Best Known for Substance-Affected Violent Bogan Character May Be Substance-Affected Violent Bogan Character” (from The Age):

AUSTRALIA’S latest Hollywood hopeful, comedian Jason Gann, might be flying high in Los Angeles, but he’s facing trouble at home after revelations he drunkenly punched a shuttle bus driver on Derby Day in 2007.

Gann, in case you somehow missed his meteoric rise to “oh, that guy” status, is the one inside the dog suit on Wilfred. And he seems to have some form in playing an aggressive dick off camera as well as on:

The Sunday Age understands he also pleaded guilty to assault in a criminal case in 2008, but was not convicted.

Normally this kind of news would result in a rush to re-watch the actor’s comedy series in the hope that this real-life controversy would add both depth and humor to their on-screen work (a la Hey, Dad..!). But here… what’s the point? Gann may have been just playing, if not himself, than a fairly close version thereof as the annoying thug Wilfred.

Co-star Zwar, on the other hand, gets bonus points for his role: putting up with someone who may have been like Wilfred off-camera as well as on deserves some kind of TV Week-endorsed award.


Meanwhile, Hey Hey keeps on sliding in the ratings (from The Herald-Sun):

HEY Hey It’s Saturday is under renewed pressure after it posted dismal ratings figures on Wednesday night.

Hey Hey averaged 801,000 viewers nationally – just over half the figure it rated for its 2010 return and a mere third of the audience who watched last year’s reunion specials.

Hey Hey was smashed by MasterChef (2.012 million viewers). It was also soundly beaten by Highway Patrol (1.211 million), Police Under Fire (1.134 million), Spicks and Specks (1.318 million) and Lie to Me (1.11 million).

All together now: AWWWWWW. Sure, we’re rubbing it in here; it’s no secret that we all loathe Hey Hey here at Tumbleweeds central. But it’s just as important to highlight the show’s falling ratings as a counter to all that glowing press it got in the lead-up to its revival.

For weeks – months – there was a barrage of reports in the Australian media on how a): great it was that Hey Hey was coming back, b): how amazing it was that so many people loved the return of prime-time variety, c): what a great host and entertainer Daryl Somers clearly was / is, and d): how the nation was obviously clamouring for the return of good old-fashioned family television in a prime-time slot.

Well guess what? WRONG. So wrong a daily “we we wrong” apology wouldn’t start to scratch the surface. To The Herald-Sun‘s credit, while they were the first to jump on the Hey Hey revival bandwagon, they’ve also been the first to leap off:

Nine executives are said to be discussing the show’s future.

“I’d take it off air immediately and put something else on next week,” media analyst Steve Allen said.

The ratings slide has been particularly steep in recent weeks – from 1.101 million to 1.003 million to 995,000 to 908,000 to 801,000.

At the moment Nine is hanging tough – hoping the July 21 show featuring Kylie Minogue will give the show a ratings boost.

“Would they be happy with the figures – no,” a Nine spokesman said.

“There is not a lot of options (to move it to another time slot or night).”

“If it doesn’t hit a million, it is a big problem,” a Nine insider said.

It is believed Nine originally wanted to run a small number of Hey Hey It’s Saturday specials this year. Somers persuaded them to blow that out to 20 episodes.

“We’ve always said that Hey Hey doesn’t have 20 episodes in it,” Allen said.

“It’s a joke that can’t go 20 times. It was loopy to run it continuously.”

Allen said that going up against the MasterChef juggernaut has hurt Hey Hey but a bigger problem was that the show lacked new segments.

“It’s not fresh, they haven’t renovated the format, it’s not compelling viewing,” he said.

“People have abandoned a tired format that doesn’t have legs.”

All of which was pretty much obvious the second Daryl opened his mouth. There’s never been even the slightest suggestion that Daryl had anything new or different in mind for the return of Hey Hey, because even before the show was taken off the air Daryl was blaming everyone else but himself for the show’s falling ratings. In his mind, Hey Hey was perfect just the way it was, and only the evil execs who yanked it off the air prevented it from running unchanged forever. Guess what? Turns out that Daryl was wrong, audiences were over Hey Hey the first time, and by pushing his luck too far Daryl has basically thrown his television career off a cliff.

I can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. For all his “man of the people” act, the whole “return of Hey Hey” has been little more than an ego tussle between Daryl and Television itself: Daryl felt he got the shitty end of the stick when Hey Hey got axed after 28 years (he felt he deserved 30), and wanted to come back simply to prove the execs wrong via a wave of audience adulation (or at least, some Facebook friends and a few positive tweets). He didn’t want to return to make good television or entertain audiences – seriously, if he had he would have made at least some changes to the format wouldn’t he? – he was just a bully with something to prove.

Looks like he succeeded there.

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1 Comment

  • Jim says:

    Jason Gann should be held accountable! There’s a facebook group people can join- Jason Gann – thug who bashed a busdriver. Hopefully it will mean he can’t just forget about what he did.