Joe Hildebrand: The Aussie TV show we all want back on the box
Joe Hildebrand: The Aussie TV show we all want back on the box

The Aussie TV show we all want back on the box

Opinion: It is staggering to think of the eye-watering amount of time, money and energy TV networks spend on audience research when it is clear all Australians really want is It's a Knockout.

When you think about all the surprise or breakout TV hits over the years - apart from the endless parade of cooking shows - it becomes clear most of them are just Billy J Smith and Fiona MacDonald on steroids.

Gladiators? It's a Knockout.

Ninja Warrior? It's a Knockout.

Even Married At First Sight is effectively It's a Knockout whenever Cyrell is in the room.

So there are no prizes for guessing which series Seven's Holey Moley reminded me of when I got around to watching a bit this week.

Yes, it was Brideshead Revisited.

 

It's A Knockout originally ran from 1985-1987 in Australia and was briefly revived in 2011/2012 by Network Ten. Picture: Network Ten
It's A Knockout originally ran from 1985-1987 in Australia and was briefly revived in 2011/2012 by Network Ten. Picture: Network Ten

 

Holey Moley is simple, lowbrow and slapstick. It doesn't pretend to be anything else - indeed it doesn't even pretend to make sense, which is fortunate because it doesn't.

It has thrills, spills and people who look like they're on pills. The only element missing is anything resembling golf.

Then there is the downright odd commentary combination of sprinter Matt Shirvington and That Funny American Guy Whose Name I Can't Quite Remember, who have about as much chemistry as Mr Katapodis's Year 8 science class at Dandenong High School. But none of this particularly matters. I don't know if there's a saying among TV executives that "a show won't fall over as long as its contestants do" but there should be.

Still, as in all things entertainment the good times rarely roll for long. After premiering with almost a million people in the five capitals, Holey Moley was down to about half that on Sunday night.

And that is the problem with novelty shows: Sooner or later the novelty wears off.

Ironically it was beaten by Ten's The Amazing Race, basically a real-world version of It's a Knockout. Seven will no doubt be looking around for some kind of reset - an explosive event that audiences will not be able to resist: Will Shirvo get back in the green and gold Lycra? Will Greg Norman parachute in with a COVID vaccine? Will it now be hosted by Nick Kyrgios?

Because the beauty of these big gimmicky shows is it only takes one big gimmick to deliver another knockout.

And that's the name of the game.

Joe Hildebrand is on 2GB Nights with John Stanley on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8pm

Originally published as The Aussie TV show we all want back on the box


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