The State of Play In the World Today

Press release time!


Rick Kalowski, former lawyer turned award-winning TV creator/writer/producer, has today been appointed ABC TV’s Head of Comedy.

He will take up his position at ABC TV in Sydney in the second half of 2013. In the meantime, ABC Fiction will continue to manage the comedy slate.

Rick, who is currently Creative Director for Sydney/Los Angeles based Quail Television, has extensive television experience creating, writing and producing numerous television projects in Australia and abroad. These shows have garnered considerable industry recognition, including 14 AACTA/AFI Award nominations – four for Best Television Comedy Series; several Australian Writers’ Guild Awards and nominations; a Logie Award nomination for Outstanding TV Comedy Series; and a Golden Rose of Montreux nomination for Best International Comedy.

Rick was most recently co‐creator/co-writer/executive producer of At Home with Julia (ABC1), 2011’s top rating Australian narrative comedy series, which sold to HULU in the United States. Popular with critics, the series won the 2012 Equity Award for Outstanding Comedy Ensemble Cast, and earned Rick an AACTA Award nomination for Best TV Comedy Series and two Australian Writers’ Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Comedy Writing.

Rick’s other credits include head writer of the long‐running, internationally broadcast sketch comedy hit Comedy Inc. – The Late Shift (Channel Nine); co‐creator/head writer of Channel Seven’s sketch comedy series Big Bite (starring Chris Lilley); and co-writer of the comedy feature film The Honourable Wally Norman produced by Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech), directed by Ted Emery (Kath & Kim) and starring Shaun Micallef. Rick has also developed comedy pilots for 20th Century Fox Television in the United States, and for the BBC.

Carole Sklan, ABC TV’s Head of Drama said “We’re delighted Rick is joining ABC TV as Head of Comedy. He is passionate about Australian comedy and brings considerable creative skills and experience to the role. Rick has written and produced hours of sketch and narrative comedy. He also has a background in the law which seems to have only enhanced his sense of humour.”

Rick Kalowski said “I’m hugely honoured and excited to be joining ABC TV as Head of Comedy. The ABC’s greatest comedy shows have been foundation experiences in my life, both as a viewer and a writer, and the opportunity to help continue that tradition is truly a privilege. Hopefully I don’t wreck the joint”.

And then this:


The ABC comedy Lowdown has been nominated for three awards at the prestigious Monte Carlo Television Festival.

The AACTA-award winning comedy has been nominated for Best Comedy, and Adam Zwar and Beth Buchanan have also been nominated in the Most Outstanding Actor and Actress categories.

Other nominees in the Best Actress and Actor category include Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Tina Fey (30 Rock).

Lowdown is a High Wire Films production, produced by Nicole Minchin, created and written by Amanda Brotchie and Adam Zwar and directed by Amanda Brotchie. It joins Modern Family and Canadian show Les Parents, which also have three nominations, and 30 Rock which has two nominations, for Best Comedy and Outstanding Actress (Tina Fey). Other Best Comedy nominees include UK shows Fresh Meat and Red Dwarf X.

Along with winning the AACTA award for Best Comedy, Lowdown has won two AWGIE Awards for Best Comedy, and Season 1 won the Gold Medal for Best Comedy at the New York Film and Television Festival.

We’d love to say more, but we’re currently having a lie-down on the couch with a wet flannel draped over our foreheads.

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  • Matlock says:

    If At Home With Julia is so great, how come it had only 4 episodes?

    (he asked, knowing full well the answer)

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Guys if we pool our savings and talents together we can create our own production company and have ‘industry recognition’ and shows with rapid declining ratings too but are lauded as ‘top rating’. And because we are so successful one of us can decide to be a bit philanthropic and say, ‘Oh it’s time to help out Aunty now that I’ve proved my success’ and not because it’s a cushy job and the public just don’t really expect better. Also the company may or may not have profited from an ex-employees appointment.

  • Peter Entrove says:

    Oh that is good news. Another lawyer/amateur humorist who has managed to convince the abc he’s funny.

  • Andrew says:

    Look on the bright side… at least it was Lowdown nominated and not Laid!

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Interestingly, it seems that “the second half of 2013” in Kalowski’s case means “September”. So he’ll be taking over after the election.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    What is happening to Quail after he leaves?

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    No idea. Though presumably the first season of his 9.30 political satire show will have finished by the time he takes the top job – he couldn’t really run ABC comedy and also employ himself to make it.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    More concerned about ‘conflicts of interest’ between the ABC and Quail.

  • Billy c says:

    What conflict of interest ? People move around in an industry. They’ve commissioned the show what’s the conflict? Is he going to give preferential treatment to Quail now he has a job? You could say the same about any project with anyone he has worked with before. The head of comedy doesn’t make tv by personal approval. There’s a station controller and a content commissioning group that needs to give approval.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Yes ‘Laid’ was made entirely on merit and not personal connections.

  • Billy c says:

    I think you are moving the goal posts urinal. If your going to accuse someone of having a conflict then explain it. I thought Laid was largely shit and it should have stopped after series one but your acting like there are hundreds of quality shows being pitched every year and the abc are picking the duds. Hardy had written a tv series before and was arguably popular. There are very few shows with female leads. I’d be amazed I they could afford to pay for the scripts and then not make the series. Of course abc people are going to get shows on the abc.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    WNL (which is touted as their new flagship comedy series) is supposed to feature ‘new talent’. Let’s say this show dies an awful death but the ABC is interested in other work by these ‘new talents’ well thanks to their existing Quail\Kawolski link any pitch is made a whole lot easier. It’ll become the next Chaser.

    The problem isn’t who has the best chance from the start its which shows are given time to find their feet. Laid and Randling (I know to save cost\thought it’d be a hit whatever) should not have gone past six episodes. Also Laid 2 didn’t make sense as a story since her boyfriend was supposed to be dead.

    ‘Problems’ could’ve worked if given more time. According to this site ‘Twentysomething’ did have something to warrant more episodes and afaik didn’t get renewed until PLM failed.

    It’s a public broadcaster it’s not meant for as nepotistic plaything. Commercial networks it’s understandable as a public broadcaster it should be held to higher standards.

  • BIlly C says:

    I see your point but I these “links” are just people working in the same industry. If it’s not producers it’s performers who worked together/ have done live work/ revues together etc. There are relationships all over the place. What they need to do is spend as much time on script development for comedy as they do for drama. The former head of comedy used to work on Saffron’s shows at SBS. Should he have been bared from making Race Relations? Well probably as it was essentially state funded sexual assault in one episode and deeply creepy in others.