Tom Gleis­ner

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE BOX - COLIN VICK­ERY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

The Work­ing Dog crew – Rob Sitch, Tom Gleis­ner, Jane Kennedy and Santo Ci­lauro – have an im­pres­sive track record with movies The Cas­tle and The Dish and tele­vi­sion se­ries Front­line, The Panel and Thank God You’re Here.

But one show that looked like it would spoil things was Have You Been Pay­ing At­ten­tion? The com­edy cur­rent af­fairs panel show, hosted by Gleis­ner, scored dis­mal rat­ings when it launched in late 2013. The axe loomed.

Jump for­ward just over three years and HYBPA? is one of Chan­nel 10’s big­gest hits. A week ago it won Lo­gies for Best and Most Out­stand­ing En­ter­tain­ment Pro­gram.

Two Lo­gies. How does it feel, Tom? Amaz­ing. Go­ing from a show many peo­ple had never heard of to one that both the pub­lic and in­dus­try deem wor­thy of an award — we feel both proud and grate­ful.

You men­tioned in your Lo­gies speech that HYBPA? got off to a slow start. How close to be­ing axed do you think the show was ? The phrase “spe­cial new time 1pm week­days” was ac­tu­ally men­tioned. We’re just thank­ful that Ten stuck by us.

Ed Kavalee and Sam Pang have done more HYBPA? than any­one else. What makes them such stand­outs? I think of Ed and Sam as our “book-ends”. While it is great to have fresh faces each week there is some­thing to be said for the con­sis­tency that comes with reg­u­lar ap­pear­ances. Both Ed and Sam host break­fast ra­dio shows — I’m sure that helps them stay on top of news events. Well, it helps Ed ….

Are there any ma­jor changes set for this sea­son or do you think you’re in your groove? In­ter­est­ingly, we’ve never made ma­jor changes to the show over the last four sea­sons. It is what it is — a top­i­cal news quiz — and I don’t think we plan on chang­ing that.

You’ve had a lot of high pro­file guest ques­tion­ers. Who stands out and why? I love hav­ing con­tes­tants from The Bach­e­lor on the show. See­ing these sweet, in­no­cent evictees come face-to-face with our con­tes­tants is al­ways an en­counter worth watch­ing.

The big­gest in­ter­na­tional change since your last se­ries is Don­ald Trump be­ing sworn in as US Pres­i­dent. Scary or po­ten­tial com­edy gold for your show? I think many TV pre­sen­ters would say that Trump is not ac­tu­ally good for com­edy. He is of­ten so out­ra­geous that it be­comes al­most im­pos­si­ble to add any­thing fun­nier to the sit­u­a­tion. Thank god for the Royal Fam­ily.

Give me the name of one or two guest co­me­di­ans who, when you see their name on the run­ning sheet, you know it is go­ing to be a cracker show. I look for­ward to ev­ery­one we have on the show. From “old friends” like Glenn Rob­bins, Jane Kennedy and Mick Mol­loy to more re­cent new­com­ers such as Anne Ed­monds or Marty Shear­gold. We are lucky to have such a great pool of tal­ent to draw on.

Are there any top­ics you deem un­suit­able for laughs? Be­ing a news-based quiz show we do get those weeks where our head­lines seem to be dom­i­nated by tragedy. I guess there’s never com­edy in in­no­cent peo­ple get­ting hurt.

WATCH HAVE YOU BEEN PAY­ING AT­TEN­TION?, TEN, MON­DAY, 8.30PM

Tom Gleis­ner has seen the show evolve into a Lo­gies win­ner.

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