Channel Ten is being slammed over what has been called a “male, pale and stale” lineup for its upcoming Pilot Week experiment.
Comedian Jane Kennedy (Frontline, The Late Show), who now co-hosts Triple M’s drive show with Mick Molloy, was the first celebrity to bring heat to Ten.
“Oh Look!! How very exciting for all these men!!!” tweeted Kennedy in response to a story about the lineup.
The reason? Of the eight shows to be featured, only one woman is represented.
The lone female is Bachelor bride and criminal barrister Anna Heinrich, who will play a support act as an “adviser” on Trial By Kyle, a Judge Judy style show featuring Kyle Sandilands .
“In the last few years the ABC has tried to kick out all its ‘male, pale and stale’ faces. It’s like Ten is doing the exact opposite,” a TV insider told The New Daily.
“My first instinct was shock. My second was, ‘Why?'” media strategy expert Virginia Hyland, founder of Hyland and Programmatic Media, told The New Daily.
“But my third was, they’re trying to appeal to the blokes because while they’ve done fantastically well with women audiences with The Bachelor, maybe men are an audience they’re trying to grab hold of.”
That theory didn’t wash with Kennedy: “And look! … There’s a lady in this picture with the remote control so she can watch all the clever funny men who have the opportunity to pilot their own shows,” she continued.
Oh Look!! How very exciting for all these men!!! And look! … There’s a lady in this picture with the remote control so she can watch all the clever funny men who have the opportunity to pilot their own shows @channelten @Colvick @theheraldsun @DailyMailUK @dailytelegraph pic.twitter.com/amzX7N9EJv
— Jane Kennedy (@Jane_L_Kennedy) July 22, 2018
Other local industry figures and everyday viewers were quick to follow and take a big stick to Ten.
“We’re so lucky we have so many funny men to laugh at,” noted Meshel Laurie.
It engaged Kennedy: “Here’s the thing. I DO have so many funny men in my life,” she said.
“And the guys in this photo (with the exception of Sam Dastyari) are all funny buggers. I am curious to know if any women were given the opportunity to propose a show? I’m also not counting “Co-hosts”.
Laurie replied, “Can’t be bothered spending my time and energy begging for a seat at a table where I’m not valued.”
The concept for Ten’s experiment is that for a week from August 19, programming will be dedicated to premiering eight original Australian pilots.
Instead of just using traditional TV ratings, the network said “audience reaction, social buzz and ratings” will all be factored into decisions about which shows, if any, make the cut as full-season shows.
“I think it’s a really interesting experiment,” Ms Hyland told The New Daily.
“We’ve got to remember that there is a huge audience which is male and pale, but what I’m finding with a lot of networks, not just Ten, is they’re defaulting to the safe zone rather than what the modern bloke wants.”
In an Aussie TV first, Pilot Week is coming to you from Sunday, 19 August on TEN.
We will premiere 8 original Australian pilots including Skit Happens, Dave, Kinne Tonight, Drunk History, Taboo, Trial By Kyle, Disgrace! and The Saturday Night Experiment. pic.twitter.com/xHWnykhWwr
— Channel Ten (@channelten) July 21, 2018
Programs which will debut during Pilot Week include vehicles for comedians Dave O’Neil and Harley Breen, Drunk History starring Rhys Darby and Stephen Curry, and a variety show hosted by Rove McManus.
Rumours that Sydney PR maven Roxy Jacenko will co-host Disgrace!, a show about the biggest scandals of the week, were not confirmed by Ten, which instead only mentioned host Sam Dastyari.
“It’s 2018 and your 8 new shows are all almost 100% white male centric. Nothing original about that. Channel Ten I was expecting better than this from you. So disappointed,” posted producer and director Ana Tiwary.
Wrote one social media user, “Ummmm, where are the women?” Added another, “Maybe next time offer more diversity. Then I’d be interested.”
But some Twitter users labelled Kennedy “jealous”, and O’Neil tweeted a direct response to her:
O’Neil’s plea to Kennedy sparked a second debate:
Ten did not respond to The New Daily’s request for comment.