Online is good news for Good News Week

By David Knox on November 23, 2009 / Filed Under News 13

Mikey“Someone asked ‘How do you have a hit show on television?’ and I said ‘Get axed, wait seven years and come back,” laughs Mikey Robins.

In an era when TV fans are calling for a number of shows to return to our screens, Good News Week is a rarity. It was revived seven years after departing our screens and has managed to survive as a popular show. The TEN comedy series now has two extra years under its belt, with a third to begin in February.

Tonight it ends 2009 with its annual Good News Week Awards, handed out to newsmakers of the year.

Robins told TV Tonight the show is a ‘glorified parlour game’ but despite the writers coming up with new games, he is a great believer in the theory that ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

“It’s a very straightforward format. And the more straightforward the more room we have to be wild. Maybe it’s just me being lazy but I like the show the way it is,” he says.

“You need that game show format to give you the room to improvise.

“There’s a lot to be said for watching smart people panic. It’s the old Theatresports thing. And because it’s a current affairs stage show, everyone is terrified of looking dumb. So there’s double pressure. The pressure of being entertaining and the pressure of not looking like an idiot.”

GNW is now one of TEN’s stayers, regularly performing in a slot that takes on big competition.

“We get thrown up against the big guns from Seven and Nine with everything from Underbelly to FlashForward and Sea Patrol. Week in, week out we go into the trenches with the big boys and we always do fine in our target demo.”

One of the keys to its success is the GNW website, which has been pooling votes for tonight’s GNW Awards.

“It is a show that lends itself to be web-driven. We’ve got high interactivity with our viewers and of course the technology wasn’t there last time,” he says.

“I knew we were onto something good last year when one of my friends told me her son watched the show with a bunch of mates from high school with a chatroom. As they watched the show they were also in a chatroom about the show.

“They’re not watching TV like I watch TV. They watch it whilst texting, being in chatrooms,” he says.

But Robbins has learned not to partake of the habit himself, preferring a traditional approach to television viewing.

“Never Google your own name and never go to a Chatroom about your own show,” he warns.

The web is also partly to blame for this year’s moral outrage at comedy, Robins theorises. Good News Week has come in for its fair share of criticism, notably when Magda Szubanski slammed cyclists, and as recently as last week when Ben Elton joked about the Royal Family.

“It gets back to the power of the net. Everyone’s got a blog and every organisation’s got a chatroom. Whereas before you had a couple of disgruntled calls to reception, now the next thing you know is it’s on YouTube and everyone’s a critic,” says Robins.

“Certain things are always going to offend people, but what’s been weird this year is the level of hysteria about it. The Chaser boys, Magda, Red Faces, Ben Elton –it’s bizarre.

“A comedy show is doing something wrong if at least one person’s not offended. Then it just boils down to semantics.”

Tonight’s two hour finale will look back on newsmakers in sport, entertainment, politics and religion.

“It’s been the year of the Chk Chk Boom girl,” he says. “I think we’ve reached the low watermark in western culture. I knew she was going to be huge when not only was there a disco version of her on YouTube within 2 hours, but there was a remix of the disco version. Pop will eat itself.”

The final show, directed by GNW veteran Ted Robinson, promises a ‘cast of thousands’ with plenty of regulars from the series.

“And Paul will sing –he tends to that on the last show of the year,” sighs Robins.

“If we can keep it to one show a year I’m happy.”

Good News Week finale airs 8:30pm tonight on TEN.


  1. buddha November 24, 2009 at 12:43 am -

    love the show, particularly paul mcdermot who, like everybody, has off days but on the whole, f***ing funny, and i love satire and taking the mickey out of politicians. theres not enough of it. i think hes made an art form out of it. keep up the good work, come back next year and give them another pizzling. and youve got ben elton, hes one of the great comic writer and satirists, loved the bit on the royals. good luck to them all for next year

  2. Ben J November 23, 2009 at 10:42 pm -

    What’s great about Supernatural being shown in the non-ratings period is that I don’t have to wait for the crap that was Big Brother and the crap that is GNW running late – the only 10 show I watch is Supernatural. I want to watch the Winchesters in action, not the unfunny Australian hacks that blight the screen.

  3. Pab November 23, 2009 at 9:55 pm -

    Good luck to them but don’t find this show remotely funny – and there’s little pressure of looking like an idiot when all the guests are feed the answers prior to filming.

  4. Mac November 23, 2009 at 5:08 pm -

    I reckon the net has served to dumb the attitudes of the masses, hence we have “outrage” over Ben Elton taking a beautiful satirical swipe at Queen Liz and Good Game bloggers referring to Hex as a “rack”.
    Audiences are devolving ’cause the net = instant reactions = kneejerk opinions without time for proper thought.

  5. franz chong November 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm -

    Anyone here remember how they got Obama and Osama mixed up on GNW.

  6. Chris November 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm -

    One of the wittiest shows on TV. Love it.

  7. Mike Retter November 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm -

    Clare Hooper is great!

    Its a great show and it surprises me how well it does in ratings.

  8. KLFH November 23, 2009 at 2:03 pm -

    Claire Hooper has to go. She is not funny.

  9. Kay November 23, 2009 at 10:47 am -

    I Love GNW. We need more laughter on TV as most of the shows nowdays are crime which I am not overly keen on. Yes it is sometimes politically incorrect but hey what they say is the truth. Keep up the good work guys.

  10. Matt F November 23, 2009 at 10:33 am -

    Love this show since the start in 1996. :)

  11. john November 23, 2009 at 10:18 am -

    Show could be better if they got rid of robbins. The man just isn’t funny anymore.

  12. slydoggie November 23, 2009 at 9:37 am -

    Classic show, usually politically incorrect: but doesn’t apologise for it. Reminds us all to laugh at ourselves.

  13. franz chong November 23, 2009 at 8:19 am -

    Love the Show.

    Never really got into it before but considering the rubbish SBS puts up against GNW it makes for a better alternative.

    I would rather watch something intellgent like this than some crappy overdone repeats of Cartoons or Ethnic Comedies.

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