THE POLITICS OF WIL POWER
GRUEN LEADS TV’S ELECTION TICKET
WILL the new season of Gruen Planet be the last? ‘‘I’m not saying Gruen is all over, but I am saying we’re all being pushed in a lot of different directions now,’’ says host Wil Anderson.
‘‘It’s getting harder and harder to get the gang back together every year.’’
The gang he refers to is himself and advertising industry experts Russel Howcroft and Todd Samson. The three are the linchpin around which every episode of Gruen revolves.
‘‘Russel, myself and Todd have made 70 episode of Gruen. If it’s not Russel, myself and Todd then it’s not Gruen – that’s always been my point of view.’’
Anderson prefers not to speak for the pair, but both are busy men.
Howcroft is the new boss of Channel 10. Samson, meanwhile, is in demand, with regular TV appearances on shows such as Channel 10’s The Project.
Anderson divides his own career between Australia and Los Angeles.
‘‘About three to four years ago I made a major decision to give up most of my media jobs and concentrate on standup,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s the thing I do that I love the most. It’s my main passion. And how am I supposed to do that if I’m doing 250 days of radio or 40 weeks of television every year.
‘‘It’s not quite my third year there of going and there and back. I suppose the reality is it’s been about 20 months and it’s really starting to get busy now.
‘‘This is the first time I’ve come back to do television here and had to turn work down.
‘‘Saying that I’ll never not do standup in Australia. Melbourne Comedy Festival is the first thing on my calendar every year. I’ll always tour.
‘‘I’m not saying this is the end of Gruen. I’m not saying it will or it won’t be back, just that we may need to look at what happens next.’’
The Gruen Transfer, referring to the response to designed disorientation cues in retail environments, had the best debut of any ABC show in May 2008 and has had four seasons on air.
Spinoff series, Gruen Nation, aired during the 2010 Australian federal election and is back on air again in the lead up to Australian federal election on September 7.
‘‘It’s the most popular series of Gruen we’ve ever done and I love that we get the chance to have a second crack at it,’’ says Anderson.
It will spin into a third season of Gruen Planet, focusing on global media strategies and public relations and itself a spinoff that replaced the fourth season of The Gruen Transfer in 2011. Gruen Sweat examined the branding and marketing of the 2012 London Olympics.
Gruen Nation: Wednesdays, 8.30pm, ABC1.