Channel nines swings the axe.The AFL Footy Show is dead.
Turning into Bendigo St Richmond on a Thursday night I always felt excited.It was a pleasure...and a privilege...to appear on Channel 9’s The Footy Show with all those who contributed positively.
I’d stop at the control booth and share a joke with security before parking my car next to one of Sam Newman’s darlings and heading into the iconic brick premises (studios) that have since been repurposed as housing.
The AFL ‘Footy Show’ was live.Very live.I had no idea what was going to happen save for a run-sheet that outlined segments and timing.Segments that shifted.And timing that generally fell by the wayside.
Eddie McGuire was masterful-juggling input,improv,overlay and the camera to host the show.Sam Newman was brilliant at playing ‘Sam’.A polarizing character that never reflected the person I knew-and liked.
From behind the bar Trevor Marmalade would chime in with one liners.Few fell flat.
And even then the ‘miss’ became someone else’s opportunity to make a mark.
And the panel of past and present players would juggle chemistry that allowed each member to remain authentic-sharing their voice.
There was ego.Healthy or otherwise.Including mine-though I never wrestled with my contribution nor how it was received.
From my perspective the ‘game’ didn’t need more statistical analysis.Nor another pseudo coach offering dull perspective.I decided my contribution would be provocation.A pointed question.The voice of recognition.A different view.Or just a laugh-even at my own expense.
Run sheet in hand I’d lose myself in the vast props bay ahead of every show as I searched for items that might act as an exclamation point-a cause for laughter in the moment.Or better still positive conversation the next day.The kind that brings different types of people together.
And now it’s all gone.For good.The axe finally falling upon Channel 9’s The Footy Show.Swung with painful lag but swung nonetheless.The once flag-ship program sunk-much to the delight no doubt of narrow minded keyboard warriors whose fingers will flail trying to condemn Eddie McGuire and Sam Newman (the easiest targets) or high level testosterone and its affect on content.
Truth is a lack of social awareness combined with a shifting media landscape and the ever present weight of political correctness meant the show ran the risk of failure since the early 00’s.The lack of innovation and genuine chemistry (performance-talent) sealed the deal.
(Many ‘programs’ have failed to read the tea-leaves - the Footy Show is not unique)
Australian television didn’t need another loss.Particularly given that the Footy Show was live.Live television is to be celebrated.And protected for future generations to enjoy whether it be in front or behind the camera...or from the safety of the couch.
Instead we will welcome yet another batch of shallow ‘contestants’ fueled with substance yet lacking any,looking to compete for a rose or immunity item desperate for Andy Warhols 15 minute of fame at any cost.
And that is a loss for everyone.