You News, You Lose

You know what the problem with satire is? Eventually someone upstairs goes “hey, if all the kids are getting their news from comedy shows, then our news shows should have some comedy in them!” And then you get crap like this:

If the new Friday night show is approved, it will include elements of 7.30, according to a planning workshop agenda obtained by Fairfax Media. It is also likely to feature Kitchen Cabinet’s Annabel Crabb and comedian Dan Ilic.

It will involve major political interviews, investigative reports and feature stories alongside “quirky”, “funny” and “human” stories. It may feature a live audience, a desk and some “amount of comedy and chat”.

Obviously, by “comedy” we’re not referring to Dan Ilic. Or anything else taking place on this show – unless, of course, they wise up and give Clarke & Dawe a regular slot (and with word out that there’s to be a new DVD collection of their work released in time for Christmas, maybe their profile at the ABC is once again on the upswing). Oh wait, Leigh Sales is going to be hosting, forget we mentioned Clarke & Dawe at all.

We’ve said this once before but it bears repeating now: when people – young, old, dead, whatever – watch a comedy news program, they’re not watching for the news; they’re watching for the comedy. That’s because comedy (which is difficult to make and extremely enjoyable when it does work) is of a higher value than the news (which is easy to uncover, at least in its basic television form, and at best leaves you pissed off or outraged). If you’re putting together a cheap & cheerful time-filler, it’s actually easier to make a decent-ish news program than it is to make a quality comedy show – which is why even news dead zone Australia has a number of 24 hour news channels but only a few hours of new television comedy a week.

And since when was The Project something to emulate? Forgive us if we’ve misread the ratings for the last few years, but hasn’t it been something of a dud kept on-air because a): it’s a great cross-promotional vehicle for Ten, a network which b): has been struggling so badly in the ratings they literally had nothing to replace it with? And this is the ABC’s brave new cost-cutting scheme?

Here’s an idea: why not just put on repeats of Dad’s Army?  With the PM wanting us to be increasingly vigilant about the threat of home-grown terrorism, it’s never been more topical. Plus there’s a new movie version out soon – surely the ABC could get the film distribution company to kick in a few bucks for cross-promotion?

Basically, this crap is the worst of both worlds: unfunny comedy smeared over half-arsed news, hosted by people telling us to lighten up while providing a service that’s not quite as professional as the guy giving the ComSec report. And seriously, Dan Ilic again? Sure, A Rational Fear had its moments, but did everyone else from Hungry Beast die when we weren’t looking?

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  • EvilCommieDictator says:

    Given today’s hilarious threesome at parliament, I thought based on a tweet that the Project would have a hilarious spoof trio on, Bolt, Price and Hildebrand, but alas.

    And good lord, if Aunty want to humanize pollies more, let’s see some more kitchen cabinet. I wonder what Scott Morrison would cook?

  • Urinal Cake says:

    How many ‘funny takes on the news’ programs do we really need?

  • sdf says:

    Dan Illic must be very compelling in person. Because he has an unpleasant, try-hard vibe on screen. Wanting to be funny and charming doesn’t make you funny and charming. Why do the people in charge keep letting him do things?

  • Pete Hill says:

    If what you say is true, then light-weight current affairs shows could become the new cheap time-fillers for networks. In the 1990s, it was either the endless cheap clip-shows like the ‘Best of Red Faces XXVIII’, or ‘Red Faces, where are they now?’, or ‘Red Faces, we’ve managed to scrap together one last clip show out of the leftover footage’. Or, it was getting a local celeb to ‘present’ an overseas-produced documentary (even if the said doco had been made 5 years previously) so it would count towards their quota of local content- ie, ‘Sandra Sully presents The Planets’ (even though it was made by the BBC about 5 years ago and Sully had absolutely nothing to do with it’s production). Then, in the 2000s, it was reality TV shows, which, despite having the appearance of big budgets, were mostly glorified cross-promotional infomercials and whatever millions they may have cost, they were still cheaper and more lucrative than drama or comedy. Now, it seems to be panel shows and lightweight news shows. I am very disappointed with The Media Circus, I think its the laziest, most uninspired thing the Chaser have ever done.