‘Fugly’ creator calls it quits
EXCLUSIVE: After 7 years, The Fugly Awards will no longer be with us to point out the worst of Aussie telly.
EXCLUSIVE: Last May Anthony Dever flew from Brisbane to Crown Casino, rolled out a bit of brown carpet, stood behind a milk crate podium and ‘awarded’ non existent trophies to empty chairs with the words Kyle Sandilands, Jackie O, Anna Coren and Gladiators.
This year there’ll be none of it. After 7 years, The Fugly Awards are packing it in.
The “anti-Logies,” as they have come to be known, were an online hit, “honouring” the worst in Aussie telly. Attracting 12,000 votes in their first year and 25,000 in their second, they frequently attracted media attention for their sheer bravado. Flying in the face of 50 years of television respectability, one man hit a nerve with his snarky sense of fun.
“It was always just a silly, off the cuff thought that friends and family suggested I actually do,” says Dever. “I put the website up online and it just took off. Everyone voted enthusiastically for what they thought was the worst on the telly.”
Over the years some of the biggest names in the biz took out the prizes: Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Catriona Rowntree, Bec Cartwright, Daryl Somers, Bert Newton, Kyle Sandilands, The Hothouse, Today Tonight, The X Factor, Australian Princess and Big Brother. Eddie McGuire won so many it even named the “Most Over Exposed” trophy after him simply to ban his name from contention.
Some awards were more flattering including Most Under Acknowledged TV Show, Most Spankable Female and Spunkiest Male Personality.
Adam Hills once got his management to chase up the collection of his certificate. It never happened.
“The number one achievement of the Fugly Awards was as a promotion I had a fake Richard Wilkins MySpace account,” says Dever. “And the two highlights of that were that Tottie Goldsmith actually got in touch with me and sent a message saying how hilarious she found the MySpace Account. The other kudos I got was The Chaser boys had “top friended” the fake Richard Wilkins on MySpace.”
He says the Today show even acknowledged it when they were doing a story on fake MySpace profiles.
“They quietly mentioned ‘Richard’s got a fake MySpace as well,'” he laughs.
But there was no such recognition from TV Week, which Dever admits is still a niggling disappointment.
“There were a couple of years where I was trying to bait them. Even last year with our logo design. In the second and third years I was even sending media releases directly to the editor just trying to get a rise. But there was never any sort of bite back which was a little disappointing.”
Not so the parade of gossip columnists, journos, radio and television networks. They may miss not having the Fuglies more than anyone.
“They would always contact with me straight away. Any little tid bit during the voting period. They wanted anything I could give them. They just loved the whole tone and style of it.”
Dever says he won’t mind if somebody else takes up a similar cause, but he has protected the Fugly brand.
As he approaches 30 he concedes he doesn’t really have the time to devote to the project anymore.
“I’m a bit tired of doing the same joke for 7 years. It’s time to do something different,” he says.
“Maybe a fake Twitter account for Richard Wilkins…”