EXCLUSIVE: Eager to remind us of the many sides to his personality, Shaun Micallef has a new Drama project in the pipeline with TEN.
To begin production later this year, the Drama will be produced by FremantleMedia Australia and also feature Kat Stewart (Offspring, Tangle).
But despite being quizzed by TV Tonight he’s not giving too much away, in order to allow TEN to make the official announcement.
“I’m acting in it and it’s not sketch-based. It’s not actually a comedy,” he says.
“I’m not writing it because I want to concentrate on acting in it. But it is an idea that (producer) Jason Stephens (The King, Killing Time, Choir of Hard Knocks) and I have come up with. So I will be a Consultant because I have some input in the scripting.
“But it’s something I will be doing right up until Xmas.”
Micallef and Stephens previously worked together on Newstopia for SBS.
With his Mad as Hell series for ABC1 also due later this year, Micallef will be a busy man -which brings us to the question of the future for Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.
The show was renewed very late last year, amid speculation Micallef wanted out. Is there any truth to the rumour he felt obligated to another season because the Drama was approved by TEN?
He says no.
“I said to TEN ‘I really want to do some other things in my career. I don’t want to be the quiz show guy exclusively, I want to concentrate on getting these other shows up and here’s one of them.’
“But there acceptance of it wasn’t conditional on me doing (Your Gen).”
The current season of Granada-produced Your Gen finished production last week, and while it has a sense of finality about it, neither TEN nor Micallef is ruling out more -but not in 2012. It was a similar situation at the end of 2011.
“I was sort of thinking that might be it for me. I don’t pretend that I’m the whole show or anything, but I thought it might be time for me to do something else, either as well or instead of… I wasn’t sure,” he says.
“In previous years I’d published a book, or done a stage tour and other things and I felt like it was balanced. (Last year) I was a bit worried about just being ‘the quiz show guy’ and nothing else, so I was keen to crank some other things.”
With Mad as Hell for ABC1 at the end of May and the Drama from August his 2012 slate is now full.
“That’s a good year for me and it doesn’t leave any more time to do any more Generation,” he explains.
“I had a chat to Channel TEN and very kindly they moved a few things around for me which enabled me to do ten more episodes of Generation. ABC and TEN both moved their dates so that I can do everything. I’m really happy to acknowledge it’s a rare example of networks working together to create more product, basically.”
This week Your Gen pulled 663,000 viewers -a far cry from the 1.2m – 1.4m the show was doing in earlier seasons. But has it been affected by changing nights and timeslots?
“I’m loathe to question Programmers decision, but I’m basically making the show for my children and in the middle of the week my children go to bed at 8:30,” he says.
“It was made for 7:30, so I do scratch my head a little bit but I’m assuming people know what they’re doing.
“As to whether there’s any more, I’m loathe to say No. And I’m loathe to say Yes. I felt we’d finished at the end of last year but then we did another ten and it was great fun. So who knows? But there won’t be anymore this year because there won’t be time.
“Amanda’s doing another show, Josh is doing the ABC, we’ve all got other things to do which is healthy. It would be nice to come back and do another ten, or some specials, or have the show mutate into something else.
“I’ve learned never to say ‘Never.'”