Wil’s spin ON ADS

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Close Up - – Anooska Tucker-evans

When The Gruen Trans­fer be­came one of the ABC’s high­est rat­ing shows last year, no one was more sur­prised than host Wil An­der­son.

The se­ries, fea­tur­ing in­dus­try ex­perts ex­plain­ing the ins and outs of ad­ver­tis­ing, av­er­aged more than 1.4 mil­lion view­ers each week, while its spin-off Gruen Nation be­came ABC’s high­est rat­ing show for the year.

“We were go­ing to do a show about ads on the ABC, which doesn’t show ads, with peo­ple from the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try, not pro­fes­sional en­ter­tain­ers, and I just as­sumed it would be, at best, a show that filled a void like Me­dia Watch does,” An­der­son says.

“Just a lit­tle show that peo­ple in that in­dus­try might look at.

“I never imag­ined it would so broadly con­nect with peo­ple.”

He be­lieves the show has struck such a chord with au­di­ences due to its bal­ance of in­for­ma­tion and hu­mour.

“I think we in­vite peo­ple into that world where you can come for the dick jokes and stay for the knowl­edge about how you’re be­ing ma­nip­u­lated in the mar­ket,” An­der­son says.

He has had huge per­sonal suc­cess the past 18 months.

The 37-year-old’s standup show Wil­ful Mis­con­duct played to sell-out au­di­ences, he was nom­i­nated for a Gold Lo­gie, won the Peo­ple’s Choice Awards at the Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val in 2010 and 2011, and was named GQ mag­a­zine’s me­dia per­son­al­ity of the year.

“I just feel like this is a good patch. I feel like I’ve got a nice bal­ance in my life,” he says.

“This year I’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to do a lot of over­seas trav­el­ling as well, which fresh­ens you up be­cause you’re per­form­ing in front of au­di­ences who don’t know who you are so you have to work a lot harder and you have to re­ally have your head down.”

He’s come a long way from a few years ago, when on­line fo­rums were filled with peo­ple claim­ing to de­test the star.

“You have no con­trol over how peo­ple per­ceive you, and I’m very much of the opin­ion that it’s bet­ter to have a bunch of peo­ple who dig what it is you have to of­fer, and then I don’t give a f*** about any­body else,” An­der­son says bluntly.

“Hope­fully, I’m cre­at­ing some­thing in­ter­est­ing and I’d rather just share it with peo­ple who en­joy it and are sup­port­ive peo­ple.”

The ABC no doubt hopes An­der­son re­tains his pop­u­lar­ity es­pe­cially when spin-off Gruen Planet launches later this year.

Look­ing at the week’s news through spin, brand­ing and im­age con­trol, it’s a work in progress that An­der­son sees as “a risk”, but one he hopes will be equally suc­cess­ful.

• The Gruen Trans­fer Wed­nes­day, 9pm, ABC1

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