Trending at Mediaweek

Trending at Mediaweek: No more Gabi Grecko and Geoffrey Edelstein, Spelling Bee AU + this year’s Dancing AU

With Andrew Mercado

1. Anyone can be a celebrity

It might be time to stop criticising reality shows for hiring Z-grade celebrities, given the definition of celebrity today is already low and falling. Today’s pop culture doesn’t revolve around actual talent, instead it spins wildly around anyone who can renovate, sing, date or cook (or not). Given Australia already has a pretty small talent pool, it seems inevitable that celebrities (aka reality nobodies) will jump around to other reality formats – and then repeat. But there is a limit and the bottom of the barrel has definitely been scraped. Recently, Studio 10 ran a poll where 100% of their respondents voted that Gabi Grecko and Geoffrey Edelstein NEVER be talked about again. So what the hell are they doing in The Celebrity Apprentice? Please. Make. It. Stop.

2. The dancing’s still great but …

Having watched every episode of every series of Dancing With The Stars, this year’s series has been its messiest yet. Firstly, why was Chong Lim and his band moved out of sight? The stage may now be clear for some fabulous effects but it’s insulting to the musicians and singers who power the show. Surely some audience members could be jettisoned to bring the band back into the fold? And could that happen as quickly as Bruno Tonioli was dispatched? The unbearable judge has thankfully disappeared, leaving Helen, Todd and Kim more than capable to proceed without his histrionics. As for new host Shane Bourne, the daggy dad routine is a misstep after Daniel MacPherson’s cool vibe. After original host Daryl Somers, D Mac was the only DWTS host who never had me reaching for the mute button. At this rate, Daryl’s Hey Hey mate will suffer the same fate.

3. The predictable Spelling Bee

It’s been feelgood family entertainment but am I the only person who assumed from the pre-publicity that Chrissie Swan was going to host The Great Australian Spelling Bee while Grant Denyer would be her offsider? Now don’t get me wrong – Grant is the perfect host as always and Chrissie’s mothering tendencies work beautifully backstage with the parents. And over on The Voice, Sonia Kruger also plays back-up to Darren McMullen even though she’s got way more experience in live TV. It’s now 2015 and when will we ever have a big TV show hosted by a woman while the man provides a bit of glamour on the side? Imagine the publicity Dancing With The Stars could get in 2016 if Sonia Kruger was to triumphantly return to host the show she once stole from the backroom. With network TV facing uncertain times, it’s time to stop playing it safe and take a few risks. And not just more cat clips from YouTube, OK?

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4. The year of the food nazi

Now that The Hotplate has emerged victorious (for now) it could be time for one of their judges to garner attention with some controversial food claims. My Kitchen Rules has Paleo Pete Evans and MasterChef’s George Calombaris packs healthy lunches for his kids going to McDonalds birthday parties. So come on Tom Parker Bowles, surely there’s some nutty health claim you can make about a full English breakfast or some posh produce? He must have something original to say given The Hotplate is such a fresh new take on the cooking genre. And even though they now have a judge with a French accent, he’s not Manu and the show is not MKR. Apparently.

The Hotplate judges

5. Stream some nostalgia

So far, Stan is the only streaming service making original shows in Australia and a sneak peek at No Activity, their new Patrick Brammall sitcom, looks very promising. There is also their new content deal with Warner Bros but is it that big a deal to have the rights to Friends when it still screens four times a day on digital and cable TV? How about trying to get new customers on board by adding shows that have NOT been on TV for a while? Surely there are some viewers who would welcome the opportunity to see some Warner shows from their youth like Eight is Enough, The Man From Atlantis, Knots Landing, Tarzan, Alice, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and 1980’s miniseries like Scruples and Lace. It would certainly be a refreshing change from wall-to-wall reality. And cats.

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