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!!

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