Nice One, Einstein

Anyone watching the ABC’s Wednesday night comedy line-up saw the signs of looming doom. But only David Knox at TV Tonight was brave enough to write them down:

Tom Gleeson will host a new quiz show coming to ABC.

Okay, first let’s count all the ways this might not suck:




… ok, seriously, this is pretty clearly a do-over of the much-loved by boring people Einstein Factor:

“You may know a lot about basketball, but that’s a bit broad. Perhaps you have an intimate knowledge of the Hockeyroos or a particular player like the legendary Nova Peris. You may be totally across World War II, but even better, you know enough about World War II aircraft you could go toe-to-toe with anyone in the country. You may be a real animal nut, but we’d love it more if you were the most educated person in the room when it comes to arthropods. Or you might just know an unusual amount about Australian stamps.

“This is a the quiz show for people who know a little about lots of different things and a lot about one thing in particular.”

And as such, it’s always possible that it’ll somehow click with an audience more interested in general knowledge rather than big prizes. Sure, those people are largely online now showing off their knowledge to anyone stupid enough to read the comments, but it might still work.

As for counting the ways it might suck, well… Tom Gleeson’s comedy persona to date has been 100% about him being a smug smarmy jerk. Is he really the best guy you want telling regular folks they got a question wrong? Also, that comedy persona he’s been working so hard on isn’t really based on him being a smart guy either, which means we’re talking about a show where brainy members of the general public are interacting with a comedian whose act has largely been about either making himself look stupid or mocking other people for being stupid. Yeah, that’s going to work out just fine.

The other problem is that television has moved on from the days when people would happily sit around watching no budget quiz shows simply because they were on television. As we seemingly never tire of pointing out, the bottom end of television viewing – the cheap, time-wasting stuff – has moved online. If people are watching television these days, they want something more entertaining than the YouTube clips a click away online.

So is a no budget quiz show hosted by Tom Gleeson going to bring viewers to the ABC in 2016? Does the ABC have enough money to make a show too cheap and lightweight to survive in a prime time slot? Are these the kind of questions an ABC quiz show should be asking? Stay tuned for the answers!


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