ABC TV has scrapped plans to boost the image of the new host of its Sunday morning Insiders chat show.
Former Sky News journalist David Speers began hosting Insiders on its 2020 return last month. Before and since then the ABC has devoted considerable effort and resources to lifting the public image and viewer awareness of its new host.
“We had David doing lots of comment pieces for ABC TV News earlier this year before the return of Insiders,” an ABC insider with knowledge of the Insiders program told The Bug.
“Since then we’ve been trying really hard to fill out David’s image and make him more likeable and ‘human’ to viewers and potential viewers.
“To be frank, when compared with Barrie Cassidy and his rumpled, knockabout visage, David Speers looks and sounds like a shortsighted shop mannequin with a PhD in smartarsery.
“So in recent times we’ve insisted anyone on the Insiders show calls him ‘Speersee’ or ‘Speersie’ or even ‘Speersy’.
“We don’t care which one they use as long as they use one of them because it’s a great Aussie and blokey tradition to give mates a diminutive of their real name.”
The Insiders insider paused for a moment to question his own terminology.
“Do you think I should have said blokey just then? Or should it be blokie, or even blokee? I’m not sure. Can you sort it out before you publish this?” he asked The Bug. Once assured, he continued.
“But unfortunately our so-called Plan E – adding the ‘ee’ sound to David’s name – hasn’t worked so we’ll be instructing interviewees, panellists and others connected with the show or elsewhere in the ABC to drop it quick smart,” he said.
Asked why the promotional plan had not worked, the insider again referenced the show’s popular former host.
“Barrie Cassidy was blessed with two names that already had an ‘ee’ sound at the end of them,” he explained.
“So we didn’t need to be so overt – fake if you like – as to manufacture and then laboriously use a diminutive for him on either count.
“Besides, being the rough and ready but quite likeable sort of bloke he is, Bazz didn’t need any sort of nickname. Well, apart from Bazz.
“Besides our market research has identified a single and compelling reason to abandon our Plan E for David.
“Hearing ‘Speersee’ so often is simply giving everyone the shits,” the insider said.