Wheel of for­tune

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TELEVISION - ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS THE HAM­STER WHEEL, ABC1, Wed­nes­day, 9pm

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.

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