Skip to main content

Stand-Up Guy


You know we love breakfast television. And you know we love Channel 9. So the tribulations of the Australian TODAY SHOW over the last few years hath sorely troubled us, here at The Tract.

Back in 2005 when TODAY tumbled from the top spot after a challenge from Channel 7s SUNRISE program (hosted by the inimitable Kochie and Mel), the Channel 9’s TODAY went through a number of changes. Long-time male co-anchor Steve ‘Liebo’ Liebmann was given the bullet and female co-anchor Tracy Grimshaw was teamed with Karl Stefanovic.

Mr Stefanovic is a man who clearly has a strong following among the powers-that-be at Nine because in all subsequent tinkering with the TODAY format, he has remained firmly in his co-host’s chair.

Grimshaw was replaced at great expense with the controversial Jessica Rowe. Her stint was short lived and controversial. Apparently Australia didn’t like her (but clearly loved Karl). Rowe went on maternity leave and amongst the tryouts for her seat were Sarah Murdoch and Kellie Connolly. Eventually Lisa Wilkinson was poached from Network 7 and has had the female co-host job since the middle of 2007.

And Karl has remained through this time of tumult. He is above the fray. Despite the efforts of some – like Tony Martin from the former GET THIS radio program - who wish to bring him down by comparing him with a robot, an android or cyborg – Karl is with us as steadfastly as death or taxes.

I woke this morning to be greeted by some vintage Stefanovic. He had put together a piece which poked cheeky fun at a piece of vision showing our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking in Mandarin. This is well-known here in Oz as one of his talents. The mock translation at the bottom of the screen had some cool, right-on satirical gags about Nine Network personalities and similar edgy material.

Just as I was thinking - Didn’t the Chaser guys do something like this last year? - we cut back to the studio where I and the rest of Australia was witness to the following disturbing exchange between the TODAY Hosts.

You’ve done a bit of a Chaser there. I think you’ve become their 7th member.

I don’t like those guys. They’re lame and not funny.

Well, I do.

It doesn’t matter, they’ll still have a go (at you).

I think you’ve just given them a reason.

Okay, I wasn’t long awake and so I can’t claim the above as a verbatim transcript. I believe I have the gist, though. As you can see, Wikinson, in an unprovoked attack, more or less accuses Stefanovic of plagiarism (albeit ‘lightheartedly'). Steffa – or Karlo or whatever his footy name is, defends himself in style by pointing out that the Chaser guys are ‘lame” and “not funny” .

Okay, if one views the event in an uncharitable light, he took an idea that had already been used by the satirists at The Chaser, did an imitation of it and then dissed the originators of that gag. But I think in a court of law it is clear that a successful presenter on a commercial free-to-air television news program has greater credibility than a bunch of aging ex-uni types on the Communist ABC. Even when he is poaching on their territory.

Well played Mr Stefanovic. Keep it real Network Nine.

Elevate the Insignificant

Mr Trivia


Popular posts from this blog

What's with George Eads' Hair? & David Edwards

Hey Zeitgeisters,

Bet you thought this blog would never top “What’s with Bradley Whitford’s Hair?” For those of you who weren’t part of that historical blog entry, it was the glittering moment where I wondered what’s with West Wing star Bradley Whitford’s hair. Good times.

However, tonight, while watching the current series (in Australia) of CSI :Original Recipe, I was forced to witness the unpleasantness of George Eads’ new(ish) 'do and I felt compelled to blog on’t.

George plays the part of Nick Stokes and has spent some 5 or 6 seasons with a haircut “you could set your watch to,” as Grandpa Simpson might say. It was always short; it always had that US Marine Corps vibe; it was always as dependable as the ebbing and flowing of the tides.

Now in something of an El Nino effect, I note that someone in Jerry Bruckheimer’s organization has decided to mess with the length of George’s crowning glory.

Although I chiefly watch CSI waiting for Grissom…

What’s with Bradley Whitford’s Hair?

Okay, Zeitgeisters, that’s as shallow an attention-grabbing start as one could ever want, but I really want to know. And sure, I’m really talking about Josh Lyman’s hair. (I’m like one of those people who insist on calling an actor by their character’s name – only in reverse. e.g. “Go Knight Boat!”)

Whitford plays Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman, in the Aaron Sorkin-created, NBC television series The West Wing. He plays this part to a tee and now he’s set to do great things in the new Sorkin drama, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I know this last bit because the Angriest Ex-Video Store Clerk in the world told me.

Oh, and Whitford’s married to the awesome Jane Kaczmarek who plays mom, Lois, in the series Malcolm in the Middle. So Mr Whitford’s your regular pop-cultural icon and yardstick for excellence. We’re here in this, frankly, puzzling cultural landscape, because I’ve just finished watching season four of The West Wing on DVD. And Josh Lyman’s hair has bothered me throughout. It’s…

Institutional Memory

Note: If you’re here, you were connected with Perth’s Film and Television Institute at some point. The FTI in the form that we know it, is being wound up and some of its functions are being taken over by ScreenWest. This is my idiosyncratic tribute to the FTI as it was formerly.
I’m not someone who plans things. Depending on how well you know me, you might be saying “Amen to that” right about now. There was no plan to have anything to do with filmmaking when my friends and I entered our first efforts in the WA Film and Video Festival almost 35 years ago (forerunner of the WASAs). We made experimental films on Super 8 movie film; in-camera editing, falling down sand dunes, raw meat and tomato sauce representing the terrible effects of our filmic violence. Super-8 was the cheapest type of movie film. 8 millimetres in width. You could shoot two-and a-half to three-and-a-half minutes depending on your frames-per-second. We had no money, so shot “longer” at 18 fps. Our tiny epics, like “Mea…