TV Talks

tv talks white letters on a red tv shape background TV Talks. All things TV. First Tuesday of the month.

TV TALKS is an opportunity to watch, listen and laugh along with a panel of engaging TV industry guests who talk about TV 'stuff' for TV 'people' complemented with some good, old-fashioned networking afterwards!

  • First Tuesday of the month, February through to November.
  • All welcome - however places are limited and RSVP is essential
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Defining Reality

What is Reality? When someone talks about Reality (with a capital R) TV to you – what do you think they are talking about?

Shiny Floor shows?  Cooking/renovation/weight-loss/true love competitions? Constructed commercial doco series like Real Housewives or Wife Swap or Farmer Wants a Wife?  Serious ABC/SBS style constructed docos like Go Back To Where You Came From and Making Australia Happy?  What about "ob docs" like Bondi Rescue, or Kings Cross ER? Are they "Reality"? Or are they just "reality". 

Is the difference only in definitions by funding bodies and what gets left out (or put in) in the edit?  To discuss, define and deliberate is this month's panel: Peter Newman (Creative Director, Shine Australia), Sonya Wilkes (Executive Producer, Seven Network) and Marion Farelly (Director, Media Tribe) with MC Denise Eriksen.


  • Paul Newman, Creative Director, Shine Australia
  • Sonya Wilkes, Executive Producer, Seven Network
  • Marion Farelly, Director, The MediaTribe
  • MC:  Denise Eriksen

Panellist Bios

Peter Newman is the Creative Director of Shine Australia. Having worked in the Australian, the UK and the US markets Peter has built a significant track record in originating and delivering award winning, talked about content for broadcasters around the world.

Before joining Shine Australia he was Head of Production and Development for Australian broadcaster SBS where he managed the commissioning team across all genres. Prior to that Peter was Factual Commissioning Editor. His crowning achievement to date was the critically acclaimed and multi award winning Go Back to Where You Came From, which received the Best of Rose at the 2012 Rose D’or.

Before moving to Australia from his native city of London in 2008, Peter was Head of Development for Outline Productions. Whilst there the company delivered hit factual entertainment shows such as Dumped for Channel 4 and The House of Tiny Tearaways for the BBC. His career began at the BBC where he produced and directed for eight years.

Sonya Wilkes is an Executive Producer at Channel Seven, and part of the development team charged with creating new programs and deciding which programs we put to air. Sonya is currently producing and developing Bringing Sexy Back, a new reality/ob doc makeover show due to go to air August 2014.

She has worked in the production department of Channel Seven since 2000, and in recent years has been involved in the development and production of reality shows like House Rules, World’s Strictest Parents, Conviction Kitchen, Celebrity Survivor and My Restaurant Rules. Sony has also worked with production companies on shows like Please Marry My Boy, Four Weddings, etc.

In the early 2000’s Sonya did her time in lifestyle television and ob doc, on shows like The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie, Border Security, The Real Seachange, and The Great Outdoors.

She started her career as a news journalist with Prime Television in Tamworth, before moving to Channel Seven News in Sydney as a producer/reporter, then a couple of years at London News Network. She returned to Sydney in 2000 to work on the Sydney Olympics for Channel Seven. She has a degree in journalism from QUT in Brisbane, and a Masters in English from the University of Sydney.

Marion Farelly was part of the teams that created, launched, or produced the first series of UK shows like The Big Breakfast C4, Restoration BBC2, Light Lunch C4, Late Lunch C4, Friends Like These BBC1, Dog Eat Dog BBC1, Step up to the Plate BBC1 & 2, Your Kids Are In Charge BBC2, Must Be The Music Sky 1, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner BBC1, Eden C4, LA Pool Party BBC3, Young Doctors BBC3, and in Australia, Friday Night Live Network 10, Friday Night Download Network 10, My Favourite Book ABC and The Recruit, Fox 8. Most won awards or went on to be successfully recommissioned for years, some both.

Marion has reworked  some the world's largest existing brands - Big Brother C4 UK and Network 10 Australia,  The X Factor C7 Australia, Ready Steady Cook Network 10 Australia, The Celebrity Apprentice C9 Australia, The Farmer Wants a Wife C9 Australia, It Takes Two BBC2 UK and Strictly Come Dancing / Dancing With The Stars UK.

Recently she was Executive Editor of Format Entertainment in the UK then was head hunted by Fremantle Media Australia as Director of Television Content alongside Cathie Scott – when the slate included The X Factor, The Farmer Wants a Wife and The Celebrity Apprentice.

Past TV Talks