Yesterday it was announced that Jon Casimir, currently an executive producer at Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder, will start work as the ABC’s Head of Entertainment in April. Sophia Zachariou, who has been acting Head of Entertainment, now has a new job as Deputy Head of Entertainment (overseeing entertainment and non-narrative comedy), while Rick Kalowski (producer of Wednesday Night Fever) remains as Head of Comedy (responsible for sketch and narrative comedy). This isn’t exactly a comedy dream team.
Casimir is best known for co-creating The Gruen Transfer with Andrew Denton, and working on other Zapruder/Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder productions such as Enough Rope, The Joy of Sets, Randling and Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery. According to his biography on the (mysteriously still on the web) Randling website, before moving in to television Casimir spent almost two decades working as a journalist and editor at the Sydney Morning Herald, whilst also dabbling in radio and writing books.
On the one hand, Casimir’s appointment makes sense, he co-created a massive and continuing hit for the ABC in the Gruen franchise. On the other hand, he also co-created Randling, an epic fail of a panel show that cost the ABC more than whatever 27 half hours of shithouse panel show costs to make, it cost them in ratings, audience goodwill and credibility. You know, the kind of things you don’t wanna lose.
Still, we should probably wait until Casimir actually commissions some shows before we judge him. Unlike Rick Kalowski, who looked like a bad bet going in to the Head of Comedy job with a CV that included being producer of Double Take and script editor of Comedy Inc, Casimir has worked on some decent shows. And he may not necessarily give us a Wednesday Night Fever. Our fear is more that he’ll commission more of the sort of not-really-comedy comedy that he’s best known for. Shows which feature smug people behind desks spouting light-hearted waffle. And that may be the sort of thing that some people like to watch, but for us that’s not entertainment.