EXCLUSIVE: In another move that sees Young Talent Time cleverly borrowing from its past, former YTT discovery John Foreman will be the new Musical Director of the revamped show.
Foreman, well-known to TV audiences for his work on Australian Idol, Good Morning Australia and Carols by Candlelight, has been busy with auditions and rehearsals.
“I’ve been working on it for a few weeks, preparing the kids for what’s about to happen and there’s some very, very talented performers and it’s going to be great to have an opportunity to show how talented they are,” he told TV Tonight.
“I was a Talent Discovery of the Week. I appeared in 1987 which was close to the end and by that stage they’d gone from having three contestants a week to one contestant a week. During the last year it went from a Talent Quest to being a Talent Discovery of the Week, and I don’t know if it was a lack of available talent or whether they genuinely thought it would be better to get rid of the competitive element of the show.
“But it was very exciting. I flew from Newcastle to Melbourne and went out to Nunawading at what used to be Channel TEN’s studios!”
Former YTT member Tina Arena was recently announced as the show’s first judge.
“I actually don’t know who the second judge is but I imagine they will be announcing that soon,” said Foreman.
His return to the TEN talent show follows several years as Musical Director for Australian Idol, but he has been busy working in Musical theatre and writing.
“I stepped away from episodic TV for a number of years because it’s a relentless schedule. I enjoyed it for the time I was doing it but after 5 or 6 years of Idol I was starting to feel like I needed a change of scenery.
“Anyone who has worked in TV will know that any show you work on has a tendency to take over your life.
“I haven’t missed it for the last couple of years but Young Talent Time feels like it has a great energy about it. There’s a positive sense of trying to provide great opportunities for young people.”
Unlike Idol, Foreman says the revamped YTT will be less driven towards Reality Television and closer to variety with a modern edge.
“Because the performers are all going to be kids the Producers have indicated to me there is an emphasis on positive reinforcement as opposed to trying to create moments of jeopardy or drama that we might expect from Reality shows of the past. This feels like it’s more of a celebration,” he says.
“From my experience from working on the Schools Spectacular it’s really important these shows serve two purposes. One is to entertain the audience and the other is to provide a useful and fantastic opportunity for the kids that are performing on the show.
“I’m confident the producers and the network are not going to use the kids as cannon fodder as some other reality shows have in the past. I’m not really talking about Idol necessarily but other shows that we’ve seen over the years.
“I get the feeling it’s going to be a very positive and uplifting show that unearths some fantastic talent.”
The show, hosted by Rob Mills, is tipped to premiere late January or early February in a prime Sunday night slot.
“I think audiences are ready for something positive and uplifting that reassures them there is a great energy amongst some young performers. who will hopefully entertain us for many years to come,” Foreman said.