Posted April 12th, 2012 by debritz
Let's face it, the Logie Awards don't make any sense. Every year, the best and brightest of Australia's television industry gather at a function arranged by a magazine with a very low circulation to give out gongs to people who really haven't earned them.
Actors and presenters whose shows next-to-nobody watched are rewarded, while the creators and stars of the top-rating shows go home empty handed. (Why, by way of example, was Ben Elton widely ridculed last year when his Live from Planet Earth show actually attracted more viewers than the Today show, whose star Karl Stefanovic won the Gold Logie?*)
Because of these discrepancies, I have initiated the Logic Awards, which acknowledge programs and talent on the basis of the only true measure of popularity in the world of TV -- the ratings.
These gogns are based on the actual ratings -- the most accurate available measurement of a show's popularity -- not just a poll of a small subsection of the population who read a magazine or visit a certain website. These are the shows and the stars Australians actually watched in 2011.
Where the winners are from overseas, thus making them ineligible for a Logie award, I've added Australian runners-up.
(No methodology is perfect, but I've explained mine at the end of this post.)
GOLD LOGIC for Most Popular Personalities
Prince William and Kate Middleton, stars of the most-watched program of 2011, The Royal Wedding.
Australian: The cast of Packed to the Rafters
SILVER LOGIC Most Popular Actor
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
(Australian: Erik Thomson, Packed to the Rafters)
SILVER LOGIC Most Popular Actress
Laura Carmichael, Downton Abbey
(Australian: Rebecca Gibney, Packed to the Rafters)
SILVER LOGIC Most Popular Presenter
Tie: Grant Denyer**, Australia's Got Talent and Scott Cam, The Block
MOST POPULAR NEW MALE TALENT
Ryan Corr, Packed To The Rafters
MOST POPULAR NEW FEMALE TALENT
Hannah Marshall, Packed To The Rafters
MOST POPULAR DRAMA SERIES
Packed To The Rafters
MOST POPULAR LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT/COMEDY PROGRAM
The Big Bang Theory
(Australian: The Gruen Transfer/ Gruen Planet)
MOST POPULAR LIFESTYLE PROGRAM
Better Homes And Gardens
MOST POPULAR SPORTS PROGRAM
The Melbourne Cup
MOST POPULAR REALITY PROGRAM
The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
(Australian: tie between Australia's Got Talent and The Block)
MOST POPULAR FACTUAL PROGRAM
(Full podcast here.)
Notes about the methodology: For the purpose of these awards I've made a few adjustments to the categories and elegibility rules, and used some "best guesses". For example, I've extrapolated that if Downton Abbey was the most popular drama on TV, then its headline stars are the most popular actor and actress.
In the comedy category, which I bundled with light entertainment, while the debut of Ashton Kutcher in Two and Half Men was a huge ratings success, the show spectacularly lost two-thirds of its audience -- a sure and swift sign of unpopularity -- so it cannot be reckonned to be as big a success as The Big Bang Theory, which rated consistently well, even in its many repeats.
In the case of The Block, its audience average over the season was slighlty lower than Australia's Got Talent, but its huge finale helped compensate. I've declared the difference between these shows and their hosts as too close to call.
While I largely ignored the official TV Week Logie Awards nominations, I was somewhat guided by them in categories that I felt were unclear. The distinctions between light entertainment, reality, lifestyle and factual seem blurry to say the least. In the factual category, logic dictated that it must go to the highest-rated news program, even though the Logie nominees did not include news and current affairs programs. As nted above, I included comedy programs in the light-entertainment category.
I have not included the "most outstanding" award catgeories, which require a more subjective approach than used here.
In compiling these results, I am indebted to reasearch done by David Dale for his excellent blog, The Tribal Mind. Any misreadings of the data, however, are mine.
* Yes, I am aware of the difference between breakfast and prime time, but viewers are viewers, and I would argue that viewers in the morning aren't anywhere near as engaged with the box as those at night, so LFPE actually had command of far more eyeballs and ears.
** As an anonymous commenter points out (see below), I originally wrote Luke Jacobz here in error. Apologies to all.
Posted April 10th, 2012 by debritz
Is a fresh and funny Australian sitcom too much to ask for? Apparently so.
News that we're about to be subjected (if we so choose) to both a Kath and Kim movie and a new TV series is proof positive that there are either no original ideas in comedy now, or that nobody in televisionland is willing to take a punt on a new idea.
I was never a big fan of Kath and Kim. I always saw it as the latte set's cruel and too-broadly-stereotypical-to-be-funny satire on the working classes. To me it was just as authentic as millionaire shock jock Alan Jones is when he talks about "Struggle Street".
But I also realise that many people, including those out of whom the mickey was being taken, lapped it up. And I admit I am a fan of other work by the creators of Kath and Kim, Jane Turner and Gina Riley, and many of its cast, particularly Glenn Robbins and Magda Szubanski. (I think Riley's best work was in The Games, which had the benefit of John Clarke's brilliance behind it.)
If we must flog this dead horse, can we have something else, too? Why aren't the networks -- especially the cashed-up Seven Network -- investing in the future of television comedy? As I've said before, creating content is the only viable future for the free-to-air networks.
We've come a long was as a society since Hey Dad..! and yet, Kath and Kim aside, there hasn't been a hit commercial television comedy since it ceased production in 1994. It's time for us to move on; to invest in the writing that can bring us a genuinely funny sitcom that riffs off contemporary Australian themes.
Perhaps the Queensland Theatre Company will consider reviving its Australian Sitcom Festival, where in 2001 (wow, that was a long time ago) an ensemble of talented actors gave new scripts a try-out in a stage setting.
New Queensland Premier Campbell Newman doesn't seem to be a fan of the "high" arts (he scrapped the annual Premier's Literary Awards), but maybe this is something he could get behind. Anything that would encourage good writing, and provide potential employment for actors and film crew, is surely worth considering.