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.