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.