Hughesy series a key part of 10’s new Monday strategy

• Dave Hughes is part of 10’s plan to lock away the 9pm Monday timeslot

“I’m nothing if not dedicated,” said Dave Hughes when he was questioned about promoting his new season of Hughesy, We Have a Problem in just the second week of January.

The reason for the early start was that Network 10 had programmed season three of the show to start in the third week of January.

Dave Hughes is part of 10’s plan to lock away the 9pm Monday timeslot for the whole year with just two comedy shows. Hughesy will run for 14 weeks until after Easter. He will then hand over the slot to Working Dog and their successful Monday franchise Have You Been Paying Attention? which will take 10 through until the end of the survey year.

“It’s great to go again and to keep busy,” Hughes told Mediaweek about his new season. The Melbourne-based comedian and TV and radio host was approached by Screentime EP Johnny Lowry initially to host the program. “I’ve known Johnny for a number of years now and he’s a great executive producer who lets me do my thing which is great. If I have an idea he lets me action it – if things go wrong it is my fault which is fair enough.”

Hughesy said they can record two episodes in a day. “I am absolutely shattered by the end of the day. The records are too long which is my fault. On the days that we record we probably have enough good material for four episodes.”

Hughesy said each record usually runs for two hours plus. “The team later edit it down and do a great job. I let them get on with it and I never know what will be on the show until I see it go to air. I watch it like a viewer and I am always impressed by how they edit together a tight program from what we record.”

Technically these new episodes of Hughesy, We Have a Problem are season four, said Hughes. Season one started with eight episodes to test the water before another batch of eight were commissioned. Season three saw 14 more episodes produced which were screened on Tuesdays and then Sundays at the start of 2019.

Fourteen episodes means Hughes needs a lot of guests. Most of them he knows well although there are some he gets to meet for the first time during the program. “We want them all to be an open book, willing to share their own inadequacies!”

One of the tricks to the show’s success: “We don’t rehearse at all. We just like spontaneity. To throw it all up in the air and see where it lands. It is all very loose – it goes off on tangents then we try and get it back to a place where there might be a few set jokes.

“This is the first time I have hosted my own show and I want everybody on it to be as funny as they can. When I am a panellist on a show I want to be the funniest, but when I am the host I want everyone to be the funniest. It’s important for me to help set it up for others and to share the laughs.”

Hughes admitted some of the guests perform better than others. “We all have had off days. A guest then might have a really good day on their next appearance. The idea is to keep talking because you never know when a beautiful moment will happen.”

Dave Hughes’ busy 2020 and beyond

Dave Hughes needs plenty going on. He works hard and doesn’t like to check his diary to find empty slots.

“I might do the Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival which is organised early in the year. [The Festival starts July 15 this year.]

“10 will be recording The Masked Singer earlier this year and will keep me busy mid-year.

“The radio and my stand-up comedy shows also keep me busy. My show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival this year is called Ridiculous.”

Hughes has spent the past few days on the NSW north coast testing out the new material in a Work in Progress show at the famous Brunswick Picture House while squeezing in a family holiday before he returns to Hit Network drive with Ed Kavalee. The radio colleagues are all in with 10 this year – Hughes has two shows and Kavalee is a surprise contestant on Dancing with the Stars.

While Hughesy and Ed host drive with new hours of 5-7pm, they are promising guest appearances from Kate Langbroek on the phone during another year in Italy.

Hughes has no doubt she will be back though and the two caught up earlier this month while Langbroek spent a few weeks back in Australia. “I think one more year will do her, and I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe she’s already had enough.”

Hughesy hasn’t ruled out the idea of time overseas with his family, something wife Holly Ife talks about. Ife has co-authored kids books with her husband, was a journalist and is now a teacher fulltime.

For an overseas stay, Hughes said: “I would personally choose a country that speaks English – maybe even a big city too like London or Los Angeles. Places where I could get up in the standup clubs and see what happens.”

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