Smile for the cameras (but no audience) … Asher Keddie wins the ultimate prize, the Gold Logie. Photo: Malcolm Fairclough Complicating the schedule … The Voice
When iconic music journalist Molly Meldrum walked onto the stage at the 55th annual TV Week Logie Awards at a quarter to ten last Sunday night, 1.463 million people were tuned.
Appropriately enough, perhaps, it was the peak audience of the telecast.
When the curtain came down almost three hours later, after Bert Newton had handed Asher Keddie the night’s top award, the Gold Logie, roughly a quarter of that audience was still watching: a paltry 387,311 people.
In some respects those numbers, and the almost absurd notion that the night’s most important moment is, by default, watched by the smallest audience, illustrates the heart of the many challenges the Logies now face.
2013’s awards, the 55th held annually since the awards were created by TV Week magazine, have become the watershed in the history of Australian television’s night of nights.
For the second year running, News Ltd has leaked the winner online before the telecast had concluded.
Technical glitches are to blame, but in the new media world of less manpower and more automation, such mistakes are a frustrating reality. In the future, such mistakes will only become more likely.
The fallout from the leaks has pushed TV Week to the point that it will no longer provide print media outlets with the winners list in advance, the so-called “embargoed list”.
The magazine’s publisher, Jayne Ferguson, said she was “extremely disappointed”, particularly because News Ltd had given a guarantee the error would not be repeated.
“In light of this, moving forward, all media outlets will find out [the winners] in line with the telecast,” she said, in a statement issued this week by TV Week’s publishers, Bauer Media Group.
But there is a bigger problem facing the Logies than the battle of print embargoes and the flattering glow of front-page coverage in the nation’s papers the following morning.
The broadcaster of the awards, Channel Nine, no longer uses them as a single program in its schedule for the first Sunday after the Easter non-ratings break. For the last two years the telecast has been bundled with the premiere of The Voice.
There are a number of reasons for that, notably that the audience overall for the Logies, like most TV award telecasts such as the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes, has softened over the years.
But the knock-on effect is that the Logies telecast has been pushed later into the night. Previously they kicked off around 7pm. This year it was closer to 9pm once The Voice and the red carpet package were played.
In the past it look a serious overrun to push the Gold Logie winner announcement past midnight. Now, with a fairly lean telecast – that is, the awards and speeches interrupted only for several musical performances and the In Memoriam segment – the winner’s announcement falling past midnight is the norm.
The pressure will now be on TV Week to make the Logies “live”, rather than the hour (roughly) delay that currently exists, though in real terms that will not solve the major issues, nor deal with the challenge of print coverage, or the warped reality that using social media during the telecast is actually discouraged in an era where it should serve as the engine to the night’s marketing.
In truth, any change to the structure of the night needs to be led by the broadcaster. Nine, whose contract to broadcast the awards runs for at least one more year, needs to start the Logies earlier, air them on a different night, or air them on a different channel.
The government, when not handing the commercial networks back (most of) the money they pay for their licences, has also handed them a wad of free spectrum to launch digital channels. Perhaps among Nine’s suite of sweet little earners, a channel can be found for the Logies?
In truth, however, the whole event needs to be turned on its head.
It needs to start in the late afternoon, and live, like the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes do. The red carpet, which draws a larger audience overall than the telecast itself, needs to be blown out from a paltry package of highlights to a proper multi-hour telecast.
Television is hungry for that kind of content, so why not feed it?
The awards need to start earlier. Some of the awards, such as children’s TV, should be hived off to a pre-Logie night event, to trim some runtime. Think about it this way: the idea of announcing the best children’s TV show at 11pm on a school night – long after the kiddies’ bedtime – is plainly strange.
And the Gold Logie needs to given out when more than a fraction of the audience is still watching. People like to make jokes about the Logies, and the Gold Logie, but if you sift through the nonsense and take an honest look, there is more that is good than bad about them.
The history books record Gold Logies for Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton, Ray Martin and Jana Wendt. Hector Crawford and Reg Grundy, Playschool and Four Corners are in the Logie Hall of Fame. There were Logie Awards for Blue Murder, Sunday, Frontline, Foreign Correspondent, Sigrid Thornton and Maxine McKew.
From this year’s awards alone we can add to that list: Redfern Now, Deb Mailman and Bonita Mabo, Lateline, Brian Henderson and Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War.
That’s a glorious legacy. It’s time to get them right.
8:42pm Bruno Mars sings Locked Out of Heaven 1.33m
8:46pm Hamish and Andy opening proceedings 1.35m
9:02pm Julia Morris delivers the night’s best speech 1.46m
9:15pm Joel Madden collects his Logie 1.34m
9:45pm Molly Meldrum appears on stage 1.463m
10:18pm Mike Munro introduces Brian Henderson 1.24m
10:59pm The award for children’s TV is presented 846,834
11:57pm Deborah Mailman and Bonita Mabo on stage 584,000
12:21am Asher Keddie wins the Gold Logie 548,561
12:27am The closing credits roll 387,311
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.