Wheel of fortune
FOR years The Chaser team has fought to get air time on Australian TV, now they’re being overwhelmed with it.
The satirical comedy group will have two shows airing at the same time, with season two of The Hamster Wheel kicking off this Wednesday on ABC1 and their new program, The Unbelievable Truth, coming soon to Seven.
‘‘ It’s completely bizarre,’’ says the group’s Julian Morrow ( pictured).
‘‘ We recorded The Unbelievable Truth in January. Because of the nature of commercial TV they’ve had to keep it in the can. We started counting the weeks left in the year and then it was like, ‘ I think the two shows are going to be on at the same time’.
‘‘ We were worried they were going to be on in the same time slot, but we’ve avoided that, thank goodness.’’
While the shows are very different – The Hamster Wheel is more of the group’s satirical political comedy, and The Unbelievable Truth is a panel comedy show – Morrow hopes audiences don’t find the double- up too much.
‘‘ We think there’s room in the market for the two shows and we like both shows,’’ he says. ‘‘ As for whether audiences will get sick of us, we are sick of us so we completely understand if they do.’’
While Morrow jokes about the team’s tolerance for each other, he says he and the other four blokes – Andrew Hansen, Chas Licciardello, Craig Reucassel and Chris Taylor – still love working together.
‘‘ Weirdly, after 11 years of working together we still get on really well and it’s still good fun,’’ he says. ‘‘ To be able to share jokes at home with your mates and then work them into a television show is a great privilege.
‘‘[ The shows] are relatively short runs – it’s eight weeks – so you gear up for a sprint and throw everything at it and then prepare to head into rehab at the end of it.’’
As well as their on- air duties on The Hamster Wheel, the men are continually trying to develop new television programs with their production company Giant Dwarf.
Morrow says the group have several ideas on the table at any one time and look up to fellow Australian production company, Working Dog, headed by Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner, as inspiration.
‘‘ We do individually try to come up with concepts and then come together and try to work out how to develop them and how they can work,’’ Morrow says.
‘‘ It would be handy to come up with some gratuitous cash cow format that gets picked up around the world that you don’t have to work at, but so far we’ve been very bad at coming up with things we’ve been able to flog over and over again.
‘‘ The ideas that have worked best for us have been ones that we’ve just done because we wanted to.
‘‘ If you try too hard to produce something that will be a commercial hit, it’s more likely to be a failure.’’
With that philosophy in mind, Morrow says the blokes simply try to have fun with what they do, and so far it seems to be working.