1. Nov 12
    The Multi Channel World

    57 Channels and nothin' on? With the number of channels available to TV viewers constantly increasing, the challenge for programmers is how to cut through, get eyeballs-on-screen and give their channel a defined brand and audience. In this month's TV Talks, hear from four programmers who are facing just these challenges:  Hamish Turner (NINE), Monica Forlano (TEN), Stuart Menzies (ABC2) and Ross Crowley (Foxtel) with event MC Denise Eriksen.   We'll be asking about how they've made the decisions behind the branding and programming of specific channels, whether they commission content and what they might be looking for, and how they are planning to "cut through" in the future.  And, as always, we'll find out a bit about our panellists as well - how they got where they are and what they love about their jobs.  Don't miss out- this is the last TV Talks for 2013.


    Guest Bios:

    Ross Crowley: Director of Programming, Foxtel. Ross Crowley originally graduated in business but abandoned the finance sector after six months and a sharemarket crash. Turning his skills to good he harnessed the stats, human behaviour and investment skills to programming roles in television. After an intense induction at Nine Ross moved to work on the set up of Foxtel and with the exception of four years with News Corp's Star Asia group has been at Foxtel since launch.

    Ross currently oversees acquisitions, program investment and programming operations for the Foxtel Networks Group of 18 channels. The role requires scoping ahead to anticipate the market and changing tastes to ensure the strongest content is ready when people realize they want it. He's confident the future for the content sector is as strong as it has ever been.

    Monica Forlano: Head of Program Scheduling, Network Ten. Back in the 1990s, Monica left her home town of Perth and moved to London, armed with her freshly acquired marketing degree, to widen her career prospects and inadvertently start her career in television.

    Monica was involved in multiple digital channel launches across Europe, the Middle East and South Africa in her role as Operations Manager for Discovery Communications Europe.  In 2002 Monica returned to Australia to pursue her media career in Sydney. Here she set up the presentation scheduling department at Network Ten and moved into the Programming side of television. Earlier this year Monica was appointed Head of Program Scheduling, overseeing more than 30 staff responsible for program scheduling, on-air media planning, presentation scheduling and classification of the TEN, ELEVEN and ONE channels.

    Working across the brand development and on-air marketing for the successful launch of ELEVEN in January 2011 has been one of the highlights of Monica's time at Network Ten. Meeting Matt Damon would be another. 

    Stuart Menzies: Controller, ABC 2. Stuart Menzies was appointed the Controller of ABC2 in August 2010. He is responsible for the channel's strategic vision, and for all its commissioning and programming. ABC2's role is to bring younger Australians to ABC TV, to help ABC TV talk to more Australians more often and to keep ABC TV relevant to the newer generations of viewers. Under Stuart's watch, the channel has seen significant audience growth and is making substantial inroads to establishing a unique character and bringing fresh Australian content to ABC audiences.
From 2004 to 2010 Stuart was the Head of Documentaries at ABC TV commissioning over of 200 hours of documentary production across a range of genres including the highest rating Australian documentary ever on ABC TV the 2007 Logie award-winning Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler; The Bridge - a 2008 Logie winner; and AFI Award-winning documentaries Hunt Angels (2006), Oasis (2008) and Solo (2009). Prior to joining ABC TV, Stuart was a partner and producer with Melbourne-based December Films.

    Hamish Turner: Director of Digital Content, Nine Network. Hamish Turner is the Digital Programming Manager at the Nine Network Australia working across both Gem and GO! - the No.1 multichannel in the country.

    After studying a Bachelor of Arts, specialising in Visual Culture, he spent two years in the UK before returning to Australia to take up a role in Channel Nine's Melbourne Sales department. His studies in Australian Film and Television prepared him for the position of Programming Executive before relocating to Channel Nine in Sydney to work with the programming team during the introduction of the multi-channels.

    Turner went on to become Director of Programming for Gem before also taking on GO! He is a member of Nine's Executive Development Team as well as the Executive Programming and Scheduling Team.

  2. Oct 01
    Funny Business

    Australians are funny, right? And we love Australian telly. So, while there are pockets of successful shows, why don't we have hours of hilarious Aussie comedy in primetime, particularly on commercial TV?  And what's happened to the great Australian Sit. Com.? Should we just stick to panel and sketch, or are we on the verge of a renaissance in Narrative Comedy?   These questions, and more, will be discussed by our panel Rick Kalowski -  the new Head of Comedy, ABC TV, and producer of At Home with Julia and Wednesday Night Fever, Phil Lloyd - actor and writer, with credits including A Moody Christmas, Review With Myles Barlow and An Elegant Gentlemen's Guide to Knife Fighting and Paul Leadon, Head of Comedy at Network Ten.

    • Denise Eriksen (MC)
    Guest Bios
    Rick Kalowski: ABC Head of Comedy. An award-winning writer/producer, Rick was previously Creative Director at Quail Television, where he created/produced recent topical sketch series Wednesday Night Fever (ABC1), and co-created/wrote/produced the top-rating At Home with Julia (ABC1), which also aired in the US. His 75 broadcast hours of TV comedy writing have been nominated for 20 major awards including multiple AACTAs, AWGIEs, Logies and the Rose D'Or for Best International Comedy.  He has developed TV pilots in the US and for the BBC.  Earlier this year, he was named in the '50 Most Influential People in Australian Television' by The Sydney Morning Herald.

    Paul Leadon: Head of Comedy, Network Ten. After dropping out of an Architecture degree, Paul began writing and performing comedy for the newly opened 2JJ.  In the thirty odd years since then,  he has been a screenwriter (Emo Ruo and Around the World in 80 Ways) and has written, produced and executive produced thousands of hours of TV comedy.

    Since 2004 he has been an Executive Producer at Network Ten.  In addition to overseeing various series of Big Brother and Masterchef, Paul has specialised in comedy.  Amongst other credits, he was Network EP for 6 series of Rove. He oversaw Hamish & Andy's Real Stories, in addition to all Hamish & Andy's Network Ten Specials, where their now famous tours began.  Add The Wedge, The Ronnie Johns Half Hour, Good News Week, Mark Loves Sharon, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, Kenny's World, Good News World, Montreal Comedy Festival Specials, Melbourne Comedy Festival Specials and Can Of Worms, and it is clear that he has worked with the best comedy talent on offer in Australia.

    Paul is currently overseeing The Project, This Week Live and A League Of Their Own.  Having recently been appointed Head of Comedy at Ten, he is expecting a flood of inappropriate show ideas.

    Phil Lloyd: Phil Lloyd is a writer, actor and creator of some of the most innovative Australian television comedy of recent years. His work has enjoyed both critical and commercial success, from acclaimed cult comedies Review With Myles Barlow (now remade as Review With Forrest MacNeil for Comedy Central in the US) and The Elegant Gentleman's Guide To Knife Fighting, to the top-rating, controversial At Home With Julia, and audience favourite A Moody Christmas. Phil has won four AFIs, an AWGIE, two Actors Equity Awards, and a Cannes Gold Lion. He's been nominated for a Logie, an International Emmy, three AACTAs, seven AFIs and seven AWGIEs. He's currently filming a follow-up series to A Moody Christmas entitled The Moodys for ABC1, whilst writing the pilot episode for its US adaptation for the Fox Network in the US. 

  3. Sep 03
    Shine a Light

    Carl Fennessy

    Carl Fennessy runs, as joint CEO with his brother Mark, one of the largest TV Production Houses in Australia - Shine Australia. With more than 40 years experience in the TV Industry between them, the Fennessys seem to have had, in the battlefield that is the Australian TV Industry, a dream run: from network producers, through to  creating their own boutique production company Crackerjack, merging with Grundy Television to form FremantleMedia Australia and ultimately leaving that production powerhouse to run the newly-formed, Murdoch-funded Shine Australia.

    Carl also ran the US branch of Shine for two years, only recently returning to Sydney. So how have they done it, and has it really been as easy as it sounds? What's the secret to their success, and how do they divide the responsibilities between them?  These and many other questions will be asked by event MC Denise Eriksen - and answered - at the next TV talks session.

  4. Aug 06
    They're from the Network

    What is it that Network EP's actually do? Are they really just there to make program-makers lives difficult? Are they all just about towing the company line and watching the dollars? At this month's TV Talks, you'll meet three Network EPs and find out what they do, and how they got there. All three of our panelists have had significant Producing experience in the freelance world, before "crossing over" to a broadcaster.

    • MC: Denise Eriksen
    Guest Bios:

    Phil Craig: Head of Factual. Phil is an accomplished producer and writer. He progressed via heavyweight British current affairs series World in Action and Panorama to produce a range of films and series including complex international co-productions. As a lead executive at Diverse Productions and Joint Head of Programmes for Brook Lapping, his shows set ratings records and won awards in three continents and were praised for their style and good judgment.

    They included mainstream hits like The Flight That Fought BackLive Aid Remembered, Ocean of FearGeldof in Africa and Catherine the Great; feature documentaries such as Blogwars for BBC Storyville, primetime history like Finest HourChurchill's Darkest Decision and Diana, Story of a Princess; and the quirky nostalgia of Jackie Magazine and Phantom of the Opera: Behind the Mask.

    In Australia Phil exec. produced and co-wrote a range of documentaries, as the British side of co-productions with Electric Pictures - including Skippy, Australia's First SuperstarGreat Escape: The ReckoningSurviving MumbaiBom BaliThe Secret History of Eurovision, Chateau Chunder and, most recently, Desert War.

    His last producing job was at new Anglo-American production company Nutopia where he helped CEO Jane Root produce ambitious factual series including How We Invented the WorldThe 80s, the Decade That Made Us and The British, and was responsible for high profile specials including 911 State of EmergencyAdrift and Targeting Bin Laden

    After over two decades of producing Phil finally crossed onto the commissioning side of the desk when he joined the ABC as Head of Factual in October 2012, and is ep-ing a number of factual productions and co-productions .

    Debbie Byrne: Executive Producer, Network Seven. With a background in print journalism, Debbie has worked in most roles in television - from reporter to Executive Producer - in most genres.

    After five years of current affairs reporting on programs such as Willesee and ACA, Debbie moved into the producing role for the Nine Network. Her experience includes series such as Our House, Street Stories, Weddings, Australian Survivor and live TV with Don't Forget Your Toothbrush. Her most recent position with Nine was Executive Producer for observational documentary series Search and Rescue.

    She has also worked at the ABC as producer on George Negus Tonight and Talking Heads and as series producer for The Einstein Factor. 

    In the independent field, Debbie has worked for PrimeTime Productions - Oz Encounters - UFO's in Australia, ob-doc series Learners; Southern Star - Forensic Investigators; ActiveTV - Amazing Race Asia and Cornerbox Productions - Police Under Fire. She's also worked in a short-term scripting role for Grand Designs Australia at Fremantle Productions.

    For the Seven Network, Debbie's credits include Series Producer for Under The Hammer and World's Strictest Parents, series 3 and she's currently the Network Executive Producer of The Mole (Fremantle) and Formal Wars (Matchbox).

    Richard Huddlestone: EP ABC 1&2, Entertainment and Development. In 2004 Richard started working in Australia, producing  for Granada Productions (Australia's next Top Model) Grundy TV, Southern Star Endemol (The Pursuit)  LandMark TV (The Real Seachange, Five Star Insider) Channel Seven (The Force, My Kitchen Rules) and Beyond (Deadly Women, Monster Bug Wars).

    After years of freelance producing and writing Richard joined the ABC as an executive producer and his credits there include Dream Build and Poh's Kitchen. He is now first point of contact for entertainment programs supervising development and production in this area.

    Richard began his TV production career in England fifteen years ago with Endemol, working on a range of Reality and Lifestyle programming. This was followed by a range of production roles at Channel 4, Granada and Carlton, working on program like River Cottage and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
    In 2004 Richard started working in Australia, producing  for Granada Productions (Australia's next Top Model) Grundy TV, Southern Star Endemol (The Pursuit)  LandMark TV (The Real Seachange, Five Star Insider)Channel Seven (The Force, My Kitchen Rules and Beyond (Deadly Women, Monster Bug wars).
    After years of freelance producing and writing Richard joined the ABC as an Executive Producer and his credits there include Dream Build and Poh's Kitchen. He is now first point of contact for Entertainment programs supervising development and Production in this area.Richard began his TV production career in England fifteen years ago with Endemol, working on a range of Reality and Lifestyle programming. This was followed by a range of production roles at Channel 4, Granada and Carlton, working on program like River Cottage and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of 
  5. Jul 02
    Waking Up Early

    "The Battle for Breakfast" has become one of the most hotly contested slots in the commercial TV landscape.  More column inches have been devoted to the highs and lows of the presenters and producers of these programs than many other genres. This month at TV Talks meet the three EPs responsible for their Network's breakfast slots, and find out what it's like starting work at 4am - every day!

    • MC: Denise Eriksen
    Guest Bios:
    Adam Boland: Director of Morning TV, TEN Network. Adam Boland is Director of Morning Television at the Ten Network. Before Ten, he spent almost 15 years at Channel Seven. He joined Seven in 2000, when he was executive producer of the network's pre-Olympics program Follow the Flame. He was responsible for providing live coverage of the Olympic flame's passage into Sydney.

    Adam was handed control of Sunrise at the beginning of 2003 and immediately overhauled the format, shifting the focus from a short news bulletin to a serious contender for the morning audience. It quickly became Australia's top rating breakfast show, re-writing many of the rules of television while turning its hosts into household names. He would later extend the format to Sunday mornings, introducing the top-rating Weekend Sunrise.

    At the beginning of 2005, Adam was Channel Seven's Executive Producer of Reach Out to Asia, a historic joint production between Seven, Nine and Ten to raise money for the tsunami relief effort. Adam was in charge of the prime-time concert on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Seven also gave him the job of celebrating the birthday of Australian television. TV Turns 50 was a live extravaganza broadcast from Sydney's Star City Casino, watched by almost two million people.

    In 2006, Adam created The Morning Show, which instantly became the number one program in its highly competitive slot. In that same year, Adam was selected to be personally trained by Al Gore as one of his Australian climate messengers. Around the same time, FHM Magazine declared Adam the second most influential Australian aged 30 and under. A year later, he was a finalist for GQ Magazine's Man of the Year. His role at Ten is aimed at reinvigorating morning television - and ihe s currently developing new formats for both breakfast and mornings.

    Neil Breen: Executive Producer, Today and Weekend Today. Neil Breen was appointed executive producer of Nine's Today and Weekend Today in December 2012, after a 23-year newspaper career at News Ltd. For the last seven of those years Breen, 45, was editor of The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, Australia's biggest-selling newspaper.

    Neil began his newspaper career with a cadetship at the now defunct afternoon newspaper The Daily Sun in his hometown of Brisbane in January 1990. In 1992, after the closure of The Daily Sun, he moved to Brisbane's The Courier-Mail where over the next 11 years he was chief police-groundsman, deputy chief-of-staff, deputy sports editor and sports editor.

    In 2003 News Ltd transferred him to Sydney where he was sport editor of The Australian until he was appointed launch editor of mens lifestyle magazine Alpha in January 2005. In early 2006 he was appointed editor of The Sunday Telegraph.

    In 2002 Breen won a Walkley Award for his investigation into a cover-up by the Australian Rugby Union of a string of positive drug tests recorded by Wallabies star Ben Tune. In 2011, under Breen's editorship, The Sunday Telegraph was awarded Newspaper of the Year at News Ltd. In 2012 he won a NSW Kennedy Award for 'Splash of the Year' for his report into Grant Hackett's dependence on the controversial sleeping drug Stilnox.

    Michael Pell: Executive Producer, Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise. Michael Pell is currently the executive producer of Sunrise on Channel Seven. Sunrise is the number one breakfast program on Australian television, a title the show has held since 2004.

    Michael began his career as a producer at Sky News after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, majoring in journalism, at the University of Technology, Sydney. He moved on to become a reporter for Prime Television based in Tamworth before returning to Sydney at just 22 to take up a position as news producer with the Seven Network. He produced bulletins for Sunrise, Morning News, and the flagship 6pm News.

    Not long after, Michael accepted a role as a producer on the Sunrise program and before long, was supervising producer of the newly-created Weekend Sunrise show. Under his guidance, the program quickly shot to the number one position on weekends. In 2009 Michael was promoted to executive producer of Weekend Sunrise, and handed the reins of The Morning Show as well.

    In 2010 Michael was appointed executive producer of Sunrise. The show celebrated its 10th anniversary on air in 2012.


  6. Jun 04
    Making it O.S.

    Doing business overseas is a necessity for most TV Producers in Australia. At this month's TV Talks you'll hear from four Australians who've spent a significant amount of time working "OS". They'll be discussing how different it is doing business - and being employed in - the TV Industries in the US, UK, Canada (and beyond) and share some insights into what NOT to do if you are pitching your programs - or yourself!

    •  MC: Denise Eriksen
    Guest Bios: 

    Greg Quail: EP - Quail TV. Greg Quail is the founder and executive producer of independent production company Quail TV, which has offices in Sydney and Los Angeles and affiliations in London and Auckland.

    Quail TV's latest Australian show, comedy sketch series Wednesday Night Fever, is in production for the ABC. Quail TV USA is currently producing a prime time entertainment pilot for a major US network while also delivering a documentary series pilot to National Geographic Channel USA, another to the Scripps Network and is developing a cooking game show format for Food Network. 

    Greg spent the first ten years of his media career as a reporter in news and current affairs, before moving into the freelance world as a writer, director and producer of documentary and reality TV. Greg's company is a prolific producer of factual and more recently, scripted content. Major TV series credits include: Real Tops Guns (SBS), Saving Babies and Saving Kids (Network Ten), Find My Family (44 x 1/2 hours for the Seven Network), Send In The Dogs (Channel Nine), Dinner Date (Seven Network) and At Home With Julia (ABC 1) as well as the feature documentary Crossing The Ice, which recently won the Grand Prize at Banff, Kendal and Vancouver festivals.

    Greg has some very useful (and amusing) insights into how to establish yourself in the US.

    Hannah Barnes: Head of Programming and Commissions, The Lifestyle Network. Hannah Barnes is an Australian, who spent the first 13 years of her media career working in the UK. Her first role there was as a promotions assistant with UK Gold. Roles as presentation and program scheduler, senior acquisitions and programming exec for LIVING and programming manager for Flextech Television, the largest provider of pay television channels to the U.K. multi-channel marketplace (now part of Virgin Media).

    Hannah was then deputy channel controller, LIVINGtv, LIVINGtv2 and FTN , before moving to BSKYB Broadcasting as managing editor, Sky One, Sky Two and Sky Three. She then moved to Channel Five Broadcasting as director of programs, FIVER and Five US, which are the youngest free to air terrestrial channel.

    Hannah returned to Australia in 2009 to work for XYZ NETWORKS as director of programming & acquisitions, and is now head of programming & commissions for The LifeStyle Group. She is in a unique position to make some fascinating observations on the differences between the Australian and UK TV Industries having worked in high level roles for broadcasters in both countries.

    Rod Parker: Head of Factual, ITV Studios Australia. Rod Parker has nearly 30 years experience in television production and has made, managed and devised programs across a wide range of genres including documentary, music, comedy, reality, factual and entertainment for broadcasters throughout the world including: BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, ITV, Channel Four, Channel Five, BSkyB, QVC and Discovery Channel in the UK, Discovery Channel, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Animal Planet and TLC in the United States, History Channel, CBC, City TV and Rogers in Canada, Networks Ten, Nine, Seven and the ABC in Australia, and TNT in Russia.

    Rod's media career began in the 1980s, kicking off in radio and feature film. He earned his TV producer stripes making 900 episodes of a kids magazine series for Channel 9 called C'mon and then worked as senior producer on Tonight Live With Steve Vizard (220 episodes)  and as executive producer, Arts & Entertainment, ABC before heading to the UK in 1993 to work for the BBC.

    Before returning to Australia in 2012 to join ITV Australia, Rod's most recent role was senior executive producer at Cineflix Productions, Canada for four years, responsible for projects including William Shatner's Weird Or What?Mayday/Air Crash Investigation,Conviction KitchenCold Blood/True CSI, Urban Legends and Stop Shouting At Me. Prior to this North American experience Rod was VP Reality Programming: TNT, Russia and executive producer: Wall To Wall Television, UK. This broad range of experiences in production across several continents means that Rod has many interesting tales to tell about working overseas. 

  7. May 07
    And the Winner Is…

    Love them or hate them, awards nights are part of our industry and even the most cynical amongst us can't deny it's pretty damn exciting when you win one. This month behind-the-camera Logie AND AACTA winners share their stories of what awards mean to them and what they think about TV's 'night-of-nights'. We'll also weigh into the ongoing discussion about Australian Awards in general. Of course, we won't be above digging for a bit of behind-the-scenes goss!

    • MC: Denise Eriksen
    Guest Bios:

    Darren Dale: EP - Redfern Now. Darren Dale has been a company director and producer at Blackfella Films, Australia's premier Indigenous production company, for over ten years. In 2008 Darren, together with Blackfella's Rachel Perkins, produced the landmark history series First Australians, receiving many accolades including AFI, TV Week Logie, AWGIE and Director's Guild Awards. In 2011, Darren produced the feature documentary The Tall Man for SBS. The film was awarded the AWGIE Award for Best Broadcast Documentary, the inaugural Walkley Award for Documentary and received four AACTA nominations including Best Feature Documentary.

    Darren has produced a number of acclaimed short films and documentaries that have screened at the Sundance, Aspen, Edinburgh, Toronto and Palm Springs International Film Festivals and has twice won the United Nations Media Peace Award. With Rachel Perkins, Darren co-curated the film program for the 'Message Sticks Indigenous Festival' at the Sydney Opera House from 2002-2011.

    Most recently Darren, with Miranda Dear, produced the landmark telemovie, Mabo, and Redfern Now - the first drama series for Australian television written, produced and directed by Indigenous Australians, developed in collaboration with BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning UK writer Jimmy McGovern. Both Mabo and Redfern Now were nominated for a raft of AACTA and Logie Awards. Redfern Now won the AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television and most recently a Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Drama Series.

    In 2012 Darren was awarded an AFTRS Honorary Degree. He currently serves on the board of Screen NSW and the Council of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

    Graham Burrells: Creative Director Foxtel Movies and Premium Drama. Graham Burrells was the creative director and executive in charge of production for the 2012 London Olympic Games, the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. From 2005 - 2008 he was head of entertainment at Foxtel and prior to that was group channel manager of The Comedy Channel, W and Fox Classics. The 2012 London Olympic Games coverage won the Logie this year for Most Outstanding Sports Coverage.

    Adam Zwar: EP - Lowdown, Agony Aunts. Adam Zwar is best known for co-creating the award-winning Australian comedy series Lowdown and Wilfred. Lowdown recently played to critical acclaim on the BBC, while the US version of Wilfred is about to begin its third season on the FX network, starring Elijah Wood.

    Adam is also creator of the popular 'agony-series'  Agony Uncles, Agony Aunts and The Agony of Life, which recently screened on the ABC. He has won two AACTA Awards, for Lowdown and Agony Aunts, two AFI Awards for Wilfred - Best Actor in a Comedy and Best Screenplay on Television, and two Australian Writers' Guild Awards for Best Comedy, Lowdown I and Lowdown II. Adam's acting credits include Howzat, Rake, Rush, the Wedding Party, Tangle, Sea Change, MDA, Blue Heelers, Stingers, The Wedge and Underbelly.

    His writing credits include Wilfred I and II, Lowdown I and II, Agony Aunts and Uncles, The Agony of Life, Rats and Cats, both seasons of The Wedge on Channel 10, and from 2006 to 2010 Adam was head writer on the AFI Awards screened on the Nine Network. He is currently producing various titles for High Wire Films, alongside business partners Amanda Brotchie and Nicole Minchin.


  8. Apr 02
    A Career in Telly

    There are thousands of young 'hopefuls' every year wanting to make it big in television. Everyone wants to know how to get a 'foot in the door'. At this month's TV Talks we'll hear from several successful practitioners about how they got their first big break, and how they have survived in an industry which can be often fickle, and sometimes downright difficult.

    They'll be talking about their career highs and lows, how they've turned adversity into success, what they are proudest of… and if there was ever a moment they thought they'd leave TV and do something else. Discussion will also look at career paths in the TV industry today.

    •  MC: Josie Mason
    Guest Bios:

    Gretel Killeen: Writer and Presenter. Gretel has hosted Logie award-winning TV, won a Mo Award for her TV writing and, over seven years was the host of Big Brother, leading millions of viewers through the precariously unpredictable maize of live television. She was one of Australia's top voice artists for 17 years, has performed in the legendary musical, The Rocky Horror Show, produced TV packages in Afghanistan, MC'd for troops in Iraq, the Solomon Islands, East Timor and Egypt and directed a documentary on AIDS orphans in Zambia. Gretel has hosted commercial and ABC radio, traveled to Namibia, Antarctica and Lebanon - as a travel writer - worked as a journalist for Australia's major publications, interviewed the gamut from pop icons to pariahs, performed stand-up comedy, written and directed a feature films and written more than 20 books.

    She is the 2013 Director of Presentations for TEDx Sydney, has taught 'presenting' at NIDA and now, utilising her wealth of experience, Gretel also teaches the art of authentic communication; the comfortable, fearless and powerful presentation of your public speaking in the corporate and professional realm.

    Cathie Scott: Director of Production Development, FremantleMedia Australia. Cathie Scott is currently director of production development at FremantleMedia Australia (FMA). She provides production insight to the creative and development teams, supports executive producers as existing formats are re-commissioned, and facilitates the transition of new formats into production. Cathie also has a supporting role in the production of FremantleMedia entertainment formats in New Zealand.

    Cathie joined FMA in 2010 as director of television content. In this role she oversaw a variety of programs including MasterChef Australia, The X Factor AustraliaAustralia's Got Talent, Project Runway Australia, The Farmer Wants A Wife, I Will Survive and Grand Designs Australia. Prior to joining FMA, Cathie was executive producer - entertainment at Network Ten for six years. Cathie managed the content and execution of key TEN programs including MasterChef Australia, Big Brother, ARIA's, The Biggest Loser Australia, So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Jamie's Kitchen Australia, Honey We're Killing the Kids,and the NYE telecasts.

    Cathie started her working life as a PA/DA at Network Ten on Music Video and the LA Olympics before moving to Videopac where she progressed to production management. Over the last 30 years she has shared her skills as a producer, production manager and executive producer with a huge number of people in the industry. Cathie has mentored many individuals in their TV Careers and continues to support the training and development of her staff.

    Nick Murray: CEO, Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder. Through Cordell Jigsaw Productions and Jigsaw Entertainment, Nick Murray has a broad set of credits spanning comedy, light entertainment, drama and factual production as: Producer and Executive Producer: BlackJack: a package of seven telemovies for Network Ten and BBC Worldwide; Guerrilla Gardeners (Ten), scripted comedy series The Ronnie Johns Half Hour (Ten), Welcher and Welcher (ABC) and Stupid Stupid Man (TV1), Two of Us (SBS), Two Men in a Tinnie, Two in the Top End and Two on the Great Divide with John Doyle and Tim Flannery (ABC1), Bondi Rescue (Ten), Recruits and Recruits: Paramedics (Ten), Sleek Geeks 1 & 2 (ABC), Hardliners (Fox8), the light entertainment show Out of the Question (Seven), The Great Mint Swindle (drama - Nine Network), and Go Back to Where You Came From (SBS).

    He is currently EP across a number of projects: Can of Worms and Bondi Rescue (Ten), The Checkout (ABC1), You're Skitting Me (ABC3). Nick is a former president of the Screen Producers Association of Australia and was named the SPAA Independent Producer of the year in 2003, and in 2007 SPAA Drama Producer of the Year. The company was named Factual Independent Producer of the Year for 2011 and has won six Logies and an ACTAA in the last five years. Last year, Go Back to Where you Came From won the top TV award in the world - the Rose d'Or.

    Nick started his career studying law at Adelaide University and working as a producer at radio 5UV. He worked in the media law practice at Finlaysons before being headhunted to the Network Ten as General Manager Business Affairs in 1988. Then he moved to Melbourne to work at Artist Services as General Manager (and sometime producer). In 1996 he moved to Sydney to set up the Comedy Channel and then established Jigsaw Entertainment in 1999.

  9. Mar 05
    Fiddling the Format

    Australian Networks rely heavily on licensing overseas formats and then 'massaging' them to work for an Aussie audience. Developing a home-grown format can be tricky, but there have been some spectacular successes, as well as disappointments, in recent years.
    Tim Clucas (Director of Programming, Fremantle Media) and Brad Lyons (Director of Network Productions, Seven Network) have been involved in numerous formatted programs (both imported and home grown) over their long careers including: My Kitchen Rules, My Restaurant Rules, It Takes Two, Dancing With The Stars, The Rich List, Masterchef, Recipe to Riches, Deal or No Deal, Farmer Wants a Wife, Everybody Dance Now, X Factor, Australia's Got Talent, Grand Designs, Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, Top Gear Australia and Gladiators.

    • MC: Denise Eriksen
    Guest Bios: 

    Brad Lyons: Director of Network Production. Brad joined Seven in 1997 as Head of Infotainment and has since worked as Head of Program Development, Head of Programming & Communications (Melbourne) and Head of Production. In 2012, he was named Director of Network Production, reporting to the CEO of Broadcast Television, Tim Worner. Brad overseas all development and production of local programs and manages a team of Executive Producers to ensure quality of shows.  Brad is responsible for identifying new formats and drives the development of Seven's own formats.
    Tim Clucas: Director of Programming, Fremantle Media Australia. Tim Clucas' immense television experience has been gained from all sectors of the industry, in Australia and internationally, in production & development, both with broadcasters and independent producers. Launching his career as a newspaper journalist, Tim's greatest successes have been in developing and producing reality, lifestyle, and information-based programs with Network Ten, Beyond Productions and the Nine Network. His most prominent role with Network Ten, as Head of Production and Development, saw him secure and develop the format of Big Brother, overseeing the production and taking responsibility for adapting the format to suit Ten's audience.
    Since joining FremantleMedia Australia (FMA) as Director of Programming in November 2009, Tim has actively pursued and produced exciting new television formats that have struck a chord with Australian viewers. He has overseen a diverse production slate.

  10. Feb 05
    The Future of Television

    The world did not end on 21/12/12 so we are free to contemplate the future. And the future of TV is the theme for our first TV Talks for 2013 with three highly respected industry 'veterans' (all currently on gardening leave) who will discuss this fascinating and controversial topic.
    Sharing ideas and thoughts on the significant changes they have collectively seen during their time in TV including the significant 'wrong turns' and 'false alarms  they've witnessed, highlight moments in Australian TV and what they think the future holds.

    • MC: Anita Jacoby

    Guest Bios:

    David Mott: David was the Chief Programming Officer at Network Ten for ten years, and prior to that held the position of Head of Programming for six years. He commenced his television career at the age of 17 at TVW7 in Perth and moved to Sydney in 1994 as Sydney Program Manager at the Seven Network.
    In 1996 he moved to Ten as Deputy Network Program Manager and then became program director in 1997. His first commission was The Panel. David counts amongst his major career achievements the establishment of Big Brother and the now well-utilised strip program format, which at the outset had never done before for entertainment programs in Australia.
    Another innovation was the move from programming the Sunday night movie (an institution since TV began in 1956) to screening established series' on Sunday nights. Other programs commissioned under his tenure include: Rove, Thankgod You're Here, Biggest Loser, Masterchef, Secret Life Of Us and Offspring - and his failures: Yasmin's Getting Married which "... lasted just four episodes ..."
    Matt Campbell: In his most recent role as Shine Managing Director Matt Campbell was responsible for driving the business in Australia/New Zealand while setting the strategy of growth in accordance with the board and the group five year plan. Matt was the well-respected leader of a talented team of business and creative executives at Shine producing ratings winning programs such as MasterChef, The Biggest Loser, The Voice, Australia's Next Top Model, Beauty and the Geek, Location, Location and the list goes on.
    During his time as Director of Content and Network Programmer at SBS Matt was responsible for restructuring the content division and a complete reconfiguration of the content output of the network, notably moving it to a fully outsourced content production model and integrating online into the heart of the content division. He was responsible for the planning and launch of SBS's first digital channel SBS Two in 2009 and the planning of SBS Three and oversaw hundreds of hours of production across all genres including, drama, factual, entertainment, film, comedy and sport.
    Credited for bringing a host of programs to the Australian free-to-air audience including Top Gear, Who Do You Think You Are?, Man v Wild, Madmen, Skins, Shameless, Big Love, Mythbusters, Trawlermen, The Long Way Round and Boardwalk Empire and commissioning the critically acclaimed dramas East West 101 and The Circuit along with cult comedy hit Wilfred, Rockwiz and Letters and Numbers.


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.