Andrew Denton: After 9:30 TV should embrace new comedians

Andrew Denton: After 9:30 TV should embrace new comedians

I read with interest an article about the limited spaces for new comedy writers and performers to learn their television craft.

Question Everything, hosted by Wil Anderson and Jan Fran, is one show where new writers are brought in the room to create material. The CJZ produced show is one of the few TV places willing to give talent the chance to develop.

Revered producer Andrew Denton agrees notes that ABC is the main home for TV comedy in Australia, but its budgets have shrunk, at the same time as it has become more risk-averse.

He describes how TV after 9.30 pm is considered “dead space” and suggests that it could be used to spotlight emerging talent – without requiring an established comedian to front it (a sentiment echoed by TVT readers this week).

“Wil will be the first to acknowledge that it’s because of his status that he keeps getting repeat projects,” said Denton. “The good thing is he’s creating a platform within that for other people to be heard and seen. It would be great if projects that didn’t have a need for Wil Anderson to front them on the ABC. And that’s not about Wil. That comes back to ABC being prepared to take risks.”

Anderson also acknowledged, “Having that space is a privilege and you try to leverage whatever power comes with that on behalf of other people. That is overly worthy. And I will deny that I ever said this, despite the fact that you have it recorded,” he laughs.

WTFAQ‘s Chas Licciardello says the answer doesn’t lie in dropping established talent from prime timeslots, but in having more airtime available for TV comedy – and ensuring people are ready to take their place.

“I want as much as possible to give new people the opportunity to be those who take the entertainment industry into the next era, whatever it may be,” he says.

You can read more at WA Today.