The ABC’s decision to allow Spicks and Specks to end with the departure of its presenting team may be respectful to Adam Hills, Myf Warhurst and Alan Brough, but it is a risky move given the success of the show.
All three indicated they wanted to leave the show on a high note, something other production companies such as Working Dog have always done so well. But the difference is none of the three talent own the rights to the show, which is an ABC property.
Whilst it is hard to envision a future for the show without Hills, other ABC properties including 7:30 and Collectors have recently undergone revamped presenting teams in order to keep them part of the ABC family.
Spicks and Specks’ popularity has enabled the broadcaster to build its Wednesday block and introduce all manner of light entertainment shows including The Gruen Transfer, The Librarians, Hungry Beast, and comedies by Chris Lilley and Lawrence Leung.
Since the announcement neither ABC1 Channel Controller Brendan Dahill nor Amanda Duthie, ABC TV Head of Arts and Entertainment, have been available for interviews, which as a public broadcaster is disappointing.
The ABC issued a statement from Duthie: “The success of Spicks and Specks has been very much due to the relationship between Adam, Myf and Alan. It’s not just a format – they are the show. They’ve left very big boots to fill, and we wouldn’t attempt to replace the magic of Adam, Myf and Alan.”
Whilst Adam Hills has done select radio interviews discussing the news, producers have declined print interviews for him.
So could the show have continued with a new host while retaining Warhurst and Brough?
Long-running UK music panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks has enjoyed several seasons with guest presenters after the exit of two regular hosts.
The team of Hills / Warhurst / Brough is tight, and the Press Release indicates all wanted to depart together which presumably would have forced the ABC into a pretty hopeless situation. But a commercial broadcaster may have found other ways to encourage some of them to stay put, in order to protect its brand.
Perhaps ABC’s plan is to allow some time to pass before reviving the show with a new team in a few years’ time? Then it could feasibly return as Spicks and Specks 2.0. in 2015 without the shadow of Adam Hills and co.