Australia's got better talent

Australia's got better talent

Posted November 22nd, 2011 by debritz

Update: Mumbrella has charted the show's dramatic fall from 1.4 million viewers (inherited from The X Factor) to 255,000 at the end. It has also reported on Sandilands' extraordinary on-air rant, in which he threatened to "hunt down" a journalist who wrote about the show.

I chose not to watch Kyle and Jackie O's Night With The Stars last night. In that decision, I was not alone.

Now, obviously I can't comment on the show itself (although others have) - but that's my point. Like so many other Australians, I deliberately did not watch it because I knew I wouldn't like it.

According to the OzTam figures, NWTS had only 560,000 viewers, coming 20th for the night and coming a poor second in its timeslot to The Mentalist (790,000 viewers). I haven't seen the demographic breakdowns, which I am sure the Seven Network will be eager to push if they suit whatever pitch they made to advertisers, but when the premiere of a show with "name" stars does that badly overall, there's not a lot of good news to be had.

I admit I have issues with Kyle Sandilands, including his cavalier approach to what he does and his astounding lack of self-awareness, but I also concede that he is a good, perhaps even great, radio broadcaster and he is undoubtedly a very successful one. However, apart from the brief screentime he enjoys as the acerbic judge on various talent shows, he is not a television star.

Sandilands has, at least, earned the right to have a go (and probably has a contractual arrangement with Seven to give him a platform beyond the talent shows). Jackie Henderson should just be thankful she comes as part of the package, because no programmer who was even vaguely aware of her track record would give her a gig.

The fact is that Henderson on her own, and she and Sandilands as a double act, have had enough chances on TV. It's somebody else's turn.

Every precious amount of airtime, and every dollar spent, on NWTS could have been more wisely invested. There are so many talented Australians who never get a look-in with television work because the usual suspects are clogging up the airwaves.

It really is time for television executives to get out a bit more and see some of our stage talent, and to consider pitches that come from beyond the small, exclusive club of creators and producers whose shows dominate our screens.

Yes, Australia has got talent, but are television bosses are not really looking for it. At a time when free-to-air TV is struggling, that is simply not good enough.

(Photo of Kyle and Jackie O from