Mediaweek Industry Awards 2018: Best Sports Show

• Find out the winner of the Best Sports Show Award

Again, no nominees in this category, the only stipulation was it had to be Australian. Television shows made our top three – two from Fox Sports and one from Seven.

Winner: The Matty Johns Show (Fox Sports)

Until now Matty Johns has been spreading his talents across Fox Sports and Triple M plus a newspaper column for News Corp.

However Johns split with Triple M at the end of 2018, quitting The Grill Team as it undergoes a makeover with new host Lawrence Mooney.

Fox Sports likes to have exclusivity on its stars and it will be happy to have Johns on tap for 2019 and beyond without having to share the former rugby league star.

Johns came to a media career via his comedy character Reg Reagan who became a regular feature on Nine’s NRL Footy Show. Johns was suspended by Nine after a Four Corners program investigated an incident during a Cronulla Sharks pre-season tour of New Zealand.

With his manager John Singleton, Johns later pitched an early evening NRL show to Seven which ran for one season.

Johns later signed to Triple M to join The Grill Team and a short while after also became a regular on Fox Sports. The Matty Johns Show subsequently launched on Fox Sports in 2013 and expanded to twice a week in 2015.

In 2018 on Fox Sports he hosted Sunday Night with Matty Johns, which featured Gorden Tallis, Nathan Hindmarsh, Bryan Fletcher, Lara Pitt and the Professor plus The Late Show with Matty Johns, following the Thursday night league game.

Second place: Front Bar (Seven)

It has been a massive year for the Seven AFL show.

With a handful of hit projects bubbling away, Mick Molloy has never worked harder or been more successful. Over the previous couple of years he has managed to successfully juggle Triple M’s The Hot Breakfast, regular appearances on TEN’s Have You Been Paying Attention? and Seven’s The Front Bar.

His radio career saw him depart the breakfast show in late 2017 to return to drive at Triple M with a new co-host in Jane Kennedy after conquering the timeslot 20 years ago with Tony Martin.

At Seven The Front Bar claimed a significant scalp this year after going head-to-head with the Eddie McGuire-hosted reboot of the AFL Footy Show. Seven’s show, hosted by Molloy alongside Andy Maher and Sam Pang, has been building its Thursday audiences in AFL markets. So successful has The Front Bar trio become that they have almost fatally wounded The Footy Show. Nine recently announced The Footy Show would continue, sort of, but without its current hosts.

Molloy’s co-hosts have both had a busy and successful year with Pang also starring on Nova’s Chrissie, Sam and Browny and at 10 on Have You Been Paying Attention?

Maher has been working hard across the summer on Seven’s Big Bash League coverage and he also hosts SEN 1116’s weekday afternoon program. Any spare time goes into podcasting about golf and the Carlton Football Club.

Third place: Back Page Live (Fox Sports)

The popular weekly Fox Sports panel show started life as The Back Page and was hosted by veteran TV and newspaper journalist Mike Gibson. Other popular contributors on the show for many years in its early days were comedian Billy Birmingham, cricketer-turned-broadcaster David Hookes and reporter and broadcaster Peter Frilingos.

These days the program is hosted by Tony Squires and has recently been featuring highlights of 2018 before a new season arrives. Squires is joined by regular contributors Kelli Underwood, Robert Craddock, Adam Spencer and Ryan Fitzgerald on the year in review program.

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