Time to shine

TEN stars were out in force last night for the launch of Young Talent Time at Sydney’s Luna Park.

In attendance were Andrew Rochford, Hamish MacDonald, Natarsha Belling, Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan, Scotty Tweedie, Angela Bishop, Michelle Bridges, Chris Brown, Brad McEwan, and Hayden Quinn.

New CEO James Warburton welcomed guests and reiterated his agenda to restoring TEN’s connection with the audience “on a number of nights with a sense of urgency.”

“We’ve hit the reset button on primetime, we’re starting strong, we’re back and we’ve got attitude,” he said.

“I couldn’t think of a better way of starting my first year at TEN than being here launching Young Talent Time. I regard David Mott as the best in the business. And this all started in May of last year when David called Johnny Young with a very simple statement: ‘Mate I reckon it’s time to take a crack at a contemporary version of Young Talent Time.

“Eight months later, here we are with the jewel in the crown of Super Sunday.”

Fronting the evening was host Rob Mills, joined by Tina Arena (who sang ‘Chains’ with the new YTT team), judge Chucky Klapow and Musical Director John Foreman.

“It’s always a big risk to take something out of the box that was always regarded as precious. It was a precious jewel Young Talent Time and it’s the reason why many years later I’m lucky to be doing what I love,” said Arena.

John Foreman said, “If a show is strong enough I think it has the ability to add character to a network, to the way a network is perceived. The thing about Young Talent Time is this is one of the great pieces of the Network TEN fabric. It’s an Australian invention, it’s not an imported format. It’s clever for TEN to be drawing on its own resources rather than bringing stuff in from overseas.”

The ten youngsters served up an impressive mix of dancing and singing, including one acoustic number. All the signs indicate they are living up to their name.

Originator Johnny Young was joined by former YTT faces including Jamie Redfern, John Bowles, Steven Zammit, Tim Nelson, Nicky Cooper, Lorena Novoa, Beven Adinsall, Natalie Miller.

Rob Mills spoke to TV Tonight about the challenge of following in Young’s footsteps as host. Aside from fronting late night game show The Mint, YTT is his first TV hosting.

“That was sell, sell, sell but this is all about having fun and creating levels within the show. Whether you bring it up or down, it’s about learning the tone as a host,” he said.

“So I’m learning the stagecraft of hosting.”

Young is also passing on his expertise to his successor.

“We watched some of the tape back today and he said ‘Hmm the camera is too low for you. You’re looking down too much, you’re furrowing your brow. We need to bring that camera up higher, that will fix it straight away.’ So his years of experience is fantastic,” said Mills.

Having recently finished 2 years of touring in the musical Wicked, he is also passing on knowledge to the YTT team.

“I can’t help them with choreography but I can tell them about energy and attack and performance. Sometimes when the kids sing they drop off the end of their lines, but I’ve learned over the years to sing all the way through the line.

“Have you seen the style of the dancing these days? Our kids are killing it. Kelly (Aykers) has managed to find a really good way of making the kids cool but not sexy,” he said.

“We have to find songs that are appropriate for the age and so they can relate to it.”

TEN is banking on the new show to kick off their 2012 entertainment slate, joined by Modern Family, New Girl and Homeland.

“I love this show. It’s such a gift of a job,” says an enthusiastic Mills. “The show is a national treasure.”

Young Talent Time premieres 6:30pm Sunday on TEN.


  1. I watched YTT and thought it was great. Will def keep watching. Hope plenty of others feel the same way because I’d love to see it become successful again.

  2. @jonno – I think YTT will last, even if the other shows don’t, because it’s got such a small cast each week. We’re not voting members of the team off all the time – they’re in it for the long haul and it’s a nurturing environment, not a competitive one. It lasted 18 years in the first place because we as the viewers got to know the kids and watch them become better at what they did, and I think it’s the same today. Australia’s Got Talent, XFactor and the rest of those shows are focused on competition and voting people out; YTT’s about getting them in and keeping them in as long as possible, and helping them grow, not seeing who wins. The tone’s very different.

    People keep saying that it’s going to be a trainwreck, etc, but I can’t agree. we have so many competitive shows out there now that a show that helps kids become as good as they can and gives them mentoring and training in performing is so different from the rest of the crowd. If it could work 24 years ago, it more than likely can and will today. I think many people are ready for a change now – an entire generation of talented kids has grown up and had to make their way without help, and people are realising what a benefit the kids in YTT had before then, and what an opportunity this show is for today’s kids. After the first show tonight, I will definitely be watching every week. Bearing in mind that the team only had about 3 weeks to rehearse together they did a great job tonight, and the vocals in particular are extremely good for a group that only just started working together. Especially in the closing song, “All my Loving,” the kids were humming perfectly in tune, which is quite difficult to achieve with the differently pitched voices in any group. I think they’re going to be great 😀

    Go YTT!! Hopefully it continues as long, or longer, than the original did!!

  3. I had goosebumps. How special for those parents in the audience that grew up with YTT introducing their children to the new generation. Great production values. My tip YTT is here to stay.

  4. it was Great fun!!! way way way better than i expected (although i wasnt expecting anything bad/good really) — and i thought i would find the kdis annoying, but actually found the whole cast/format endearing ^^

  5. Do we get to vote the team members off????
    The first to go should be the host!
    It feels all very patronising so far ….
    A very poor version of Glee at times …

  6. @david
    This is actually Rob’s second TV show hosting.
    There was a very short-lived show called “stooged”
    I think it lasted 2 episodes, also on TEN.

  7. I’ve already said this elsewhere on the site, but I’m watching ten on Sunday and living up to my monicker…am even watching YTT . Yep, proudly a tv tragic.

  8. Watch Warburton distance himself when the new lineup goes belly up. “It was all organised while I was on gardeing leave. It wasn’t me. You didn’t see me. You can’t prove a thing.” Apologies to Bart Simpson.

  9. Here’s a link to the YTT kids singing Pricetag with just a piano accompanying them. youtube.com/watch?v=cLy06FCya5o&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  10. This looks good but am worried about talent show overload. AGT, Xfactor,The Voice,YTT. Do we have enough talent in this country to sustain these shows year in year out ?.

  11. To all of the people bagging the crap out of the show before it has even aired, I’m guessing you are not exactly the target audience here. This is, at heart, a family show and personally I’m looking forward to finally seeing it Sunday night. I think Millsy is going to do great with this; I saw him a number of times during his run as Fieryo in Wicked and came away a massive fan. Good luck to them.

  12. Sorry but starting 3 weeks before the ratings season is Not reinvigorating Prime Time. 1 week early i could understand but 3? Sorry but this is going to fall flat on its face. Anyway not worried one bit. I expect Tomic to win tonight and then TEN get hammered on Sunday.

  13. What’s Hamish doing at a TEN event? Are H&A coming back to TEN?..

    Well Seven has the Aus Open that goes all night and Nine have TBBT repeats (anyone surprised?) so I’m thinking it will get alot of eyeballs due to nothing else being offered by the competition.

  14. @chasingvegas

    Seriously? Light hearted fun, 7 the network you bagged has had dancing there for years! That’s not light hearted fun?

    P.S before you applaud his vision how about you give him more than 2 weeks at the network

  15. Was at Luna Park yesterday, spoke with Rob Mills (didnt think to ask for photo lol) saw Tim Bailey film the weather, got photos with Tim Bailey, Bondi Vet, George, Matt, Gary and Adam (Masterchef) saw Commando and Michelle Bridge (looked liked she struggeled in her shoes but looked great), fun day :)

  16. I know everyone likes to sink the boot in, especially before they’ve even seen the show… but remember, this is a talent show and we all know that Australian’s love talent shows… you just have to look at the success of Australia’s Got Talent, X-Factor… etc.

    This has all the right ingredients to do stellar things for TEN… from talent to production. I reckon it will do well…

  17. @AS – well they went for this after ditching Don’t Stop Believing. The British FIVE production of Don’t Stop Believing was a stupidly flawed implementation of a show, but it had competitive elements and it, theoretically, showed talented groups (most weren’t actually very good).

    So TEN obviously believes Young Talent Time’s cutesy kiddy element and audience connection with a regular cast can overcome the format essentially being about nothing.

    I say good luck, they’ll need it!

  18. Good on James Warburton for his refreshing of the network. I beleive he has a strong vision for where he would like to take the channel & a very strong team behind him. Young Talent Time is a great show for a sunday night & it’s exactly want the viewers want! Instead of the usual morbid stories on 60 minutes & or some ridiculous “factual” show on Ch7, viewers want the option to end their weekends with the little light entertainment & i believe that given a go, YTT and the other shows 10 has lined up might just work. Heck, they can always move it to ELEVEN or if you don’t want to watch it, change the channel.

  19. If YTT is “the jewel in the crown of Super Sunday” I think Mr Warburton is going to be really disappointed.

    With kids these days having such easy access to international stars through MTV, Youtube, iTunes etc, I really don’t think many people are going to be interested in this one.

    I hope I’m wrong but I think this is going to be a flop.

  20. Sorry be this really does look horrible. The new ad with the kids singing ‘jumpstart’ is terrible. I know some will get a kick out of seeing little kids singing and dancing around, but i think interest will fade quickly.

    Question for Warburton… In his attempt at “restoring TEN’s connection with the audience”, will this include actually starting and finishing shows on time???

  21. Interesting version on how the show came to be , when I was working on. A production at granada in early 2010 they were. Shopping the concept then

  22. I thought it was called ”Young Talent Time” not because the performers were youths but because the show was Johnny Youngs’…thus (Johnny) Young Talent Time.
    I remember the cast members all attended ‘Johnny Youngs Talent school” where they learnt dance and singing….I wonder if this will continue??

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