New South Wales may have wanted the TV Week Logie Awards to visit Dubbo or Western Sydney but it never made a formal bid for the event.
The Gold Coast and Melbourne were the only two bids on the table for the 60th Logie Awards, but Queensland threw more money at what is already an expensive event to stage.
“Melbourne and Crown were both interested in retaining the Logies,” Bauer Media General Manager, Women’s Lifestyle & Entertainment, Jayne Ferguson told TV Tonight.
“We had a competitive offer from them but we had more interest from the Queensland government. They were really excited about the prospect of owning the Logies for the next 4 years.
“We never had a formal offer from New South Wales. We obviously spoke to them and read in the paper that they wanted it to tour regional NSW but it was never a serious offer.
“It’s an exciting time for the Gold Coast with the enthusiasm for the Commonwealth Games, and it really rubbed off on us, as well.”
Central to Queensland’s strategy for the Logies is not just the primetime showcase for the Gold Coast, but to bring the production sector to Queensland.
“They were pushing hard for TV event that might encompass more than just the Logies,” Ferguson explains.
“Queensland has won a few productions with Harrow, Safe Harbour, Wanted, The Mosque, Homecoming Queens. They have always been known for their film production but they’ve been producing a lot of shows as well. The pre-Logies event that Film Victoria hosts (for industry) will be hosted by Screen Queensland, so there are real opportunities to showcase the Gold Coast to production companies.”
“To me it’s always been an awkward time in April”
The 60th TV Week Logie Awards may well be the latest one ever, to be staged in July instead of the traditional April / May at The Star (formerly Jupiter’s Casino). Whilst Bauer clearly had to work around the Commonwealth Games in April, Ferguson says there were other considerations.
“To me it’s always been an awkward time in April. One of the things we discussed is that winter is a huge viewing period in Australia and July kicks off the second half of the TV year. Daylight Saving was another obvious consideration because we are Live,” she continues.
“So it was a combination that made us land in July.”
The voting period is yet to be determined and she hasn’t ruled out extending the eligibility period into early 2018, to avoid the 2019 Logies also facing a long gap between shows broadcast and the ceremony. Is she worried it could be 18 months for some shows between broadcasting and awards?
“It’s always a consideration, even with April timing. I leave that to the networks to decide what shows they put forward, particularly in those popular awards,” Ferguson explains.
“Once we’ve locked down the final timings we will know when the cut-off will be.
“There will be a little bit of adjustment in the first year, but we are just finalising that now. But everything we do, we do from a viewer’s point of view.”
Also on the cards is a return to Popular Awards -this year the viewer-voted categories were rebranded from Popular to Best, creating some confusion alongside the jury-voted Outstanding categories.
“Watch this space on that one!” she teased.
“I hear you. We haven’t got 100% of everything right but it is something we will definitely consider changing back for next year.”
“It is strange to me that there is this relationship with the Logies”
Such is the evolution of the Logies, which has refreshed over the decades. Yet despite its undeniable 60 year run, it is an event that is heaped with criticism: from the nominees, to presentation, to winners, to actual worth.
How does Ferguson evaluate what is, at best, Australia’s love / hate relationship with the Logies?
“It is strange to me that there is this relationship with the Logies,” she agrees. “But you only have to look at the news breaking 2 weeks ago that it wouldn’t be hosted in Melbourne. Look how the press reacted: every bulletin, on every major network for the whole day, front page of newspapers.
“So I look at that and say we are relevant. The media cared. Do the public care as much? We’ll see next July. But I’m confident they will tune in. Our ratings were pretty good –we still pulled an audience of about 1.3m over 3.5hrs of television.
“Maybe it’s a sport: ‘I love it but I will still bag it.’
“It’s not an event that people don’t have an opinion on. I suppose at the end of the day what really matters is the viewers who vote and who engage on the night. But I’m yet to see Rove McManus’ name mentioned in print without referencing the words ‘Gold Logie. ‘
“And the Australian TV personalities want to win a Logie. It’s the pinnacle award for craft and work in Australia. The shows want to win. The actors and presenters want to win. So I think it does matter.”
“They often think we are quite unusual”
And how does it fare with Bauer Media’s German-based management? Planning and running the event isn’t something that is discussed in any detail but the family-owned publishers are huge supporters of Television, globally.
“They own a lot of TV guides in most of the countries they are present in. The Australian market is unusual in that there is only 1 paid listings magazine, which is TV Week,” says Ferguson.
“With bigger populations they have been able to segment their TV into different interest and age groups. So they often think we are quite unusual being 1, and when we talk about TV Week as a family magazine they also think it is unusual. But not in a bad way.
“When I sat down with the Germans 5 years ago they were actually incredibly helpful, giving their views on a well-constructed magazine. They certainly get down into the detail, particularly in how the listings are presented, from a reader’s point of view.”
Lastly, will Karl Stefanovic turn up for TV’s 60th night of nights? Ferguson is confident.
“He’s a Queenslander through and through, and a big supporter of the Logies, he’s won a Gold Logie and it’s done wonders for his career. I’m pretty sure he’ll be there.”