Return of the Media Circus

Back in the early days of this blog we wrote a lot, an awful lot, about The Chaser. The media at that time was full of The Chaser’s War on Everything, the Make A Realistic Wish Sketch, Gerard Henderson’s constant attacks on “The Chaser boys”, and much, much more. Now? Not so much. Which is fair enough – time, comedy and The Chaser have all moved on – but to what? The Checkout? No, despite its occasional forays in to comedy it really doesn’t count. Oh look, here’s a TV Tonight story from several days ago which says they’ll be back at the end of this year…

EXCLUSIVE: Good news for Chaser fans with Media Circus set to return later this year.

“The Chaser is back with a second season of Media Circus, I think in October, for the last 8 or 10 weeks of the ratings year,” Chris Taylor told TV Tonight.

“But I don’t think it’s been formally announced yet!”

Last year’s series combined parlour games with news from the media, hosted by Craig Reucassel, with teams comprising such faces as Ben Jenkins, Zoë Norton Lodge, Scott Abbot, Julian Morrow, Tom Gleeson, Tracey Spicer, Hugh Riminton, George Negus and Peter Berner.

The Chaser’s Giant Dwarf Productions is currently producing The Checkout for ABC.

Mmmm…parlour games and news from the media – what a comedy combo!

But seriously, as much as we’ve criticised The Chaser over the years they are capable of better than this. So we’re asking the question: what’s the problem? They’re experienced, they’ve got profile, they’re reasonably good, they presumably still come up with ideas for new shows, so why aren’t we seeing more of them in something decent?

Apparently it’s not because they secretly hate each other, although several of them have solo projects on the go (the second series of Chris Taylor’s Plonk is now on Stan, for example). So, is it that they’re demanding too much money? Are they considered old hat now? Are their new show ideas not very good? Or is it now impossible for people over 35 to appear in any humorous programme that doesn’t involve a panel, talking heads, or John Clarke and Bryan Dawe?

Part of the problem, possibly, is that The Chaser so “ABC” that they can’t switch to a commercial network, meaning that once the ABC tires of them they have nowhere else to go. Or are The Chaser planning to do a Working Dog and take more behind-the-scenes roles, producing their own shows but casting other performers in them?

Either way, we’re not hugely excited by the mooted return of Media Circus. And not just because series 1 was pretty lacklustre as far as Chaser projects gone. No, it’s more that even in the pantheon of Australian topical panel shows The Chaser’s Media Circus wasn’t a particularly good one.

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