The ABC has struck upon an idea it believes should revive its flagging weekly public discussion program Q&A.
Spokesperson for ABC TV, Tess Patten, said it was no secret that Q&A was struggling to maintain its audience.
“The program first aired in 2008 on Thursday nights but shifted a few years later to Monday nights,” Ms Patten said. “This year we tried shifting it back to Thursdays, but that hasn’t really boosted audiences.
“The change in host almost two years ago from Tony Jones to that bloke who isn’t Tony Jones hasn’t helped either. Now that he’s gone we thought it’s time to overhaul the program to rebuild audience numbers.”
Ms Patten said the revamped program to start screening soon would be a combination of Q&A and the popular BBC panel show QI which is currently undergoing its 232nd rescreening on the ABC.
“QI has always lived up to its promise of presenting ‘quite interesting’ information to viewers in an often humorous way,” she said.
“So we thought we would combine both programs to create a new one QIA, or to give its long title, Quite Interesting Answers.
“Like QI we will have a variety of comedians on the panel each episode who will answer questions about Australian politics from the audience in the studio and at home.
“At last we should get some ‘quite interesting answers’ to questions which is something missing from the current format which relies on a rotating list of predictable panellists giving pretty much predictable answers.
“We’re also in the process of selecting a new host. We did consider inviting Stephen Fry or Sandi Toksvig to come to Australia to anchor the program but that proved to be potentially too costly and they didn’t seem to know all that much about Australian politics which, to be fair, has never disqualified anyone from hosting or appearing on an Australian public affairs program.
“I can’t say too much at this stage but I can confirm that the shortlist for the QIA host has come down to Rodney Rude, Sandy Gutman better known as Austen Tayshus, Kevin Bloody Wilson, and Daryl Somers of Hey Hey It’s Saturday fame. (pictured clockwise from top left)
“To be frank, Daryl’s on the list just to make up the numbers. We’re really just using him in the hope of snaring Ossie Ostrich because we’ve already signed up Dickie Knee.
“We are off the record aren’t we?” Ms Patten said.