Airdate: The Observer Effect

Ellen Fanning_high-res photoEllen Fanning will return to television for a new “long-form, intimate” television for SBS, The Observer Effect.

The 20×60-minute series, created and produced by Shine Australia, will air on Sunday nights from June 2nd as high-profile Australians become ‘the observer’, giving their personal perspective on the issues shaping the national conversation and allowing the audience to see them beyond the 24 hour news headlines.

“A show like this is so critical in an age dominated by 140 character messages and a dizzying 24 hour news cycle. We will give leading Australians time to reflect on the state of the nation and to vigorously debate the critical issues in this election year. It’s a rare treat for an interviewer to have the best part of an hour on prime time TV. I’m honoured that SBS has given me the role,” said Fanning.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said, “Through The Observer Effect, we wanted to create a show that would continue to build on SBS’s reputation for content which provokes debate by bringing audiences a fresh and edgy take on the issues Australians are talking about, and gives them a new insight into the real personalities and perspectives of our prominent Australians.”

SBS Director of TV and Online Content Tony Iffland added, “SBS continues to push boundaries with this new weekly Sunday night series. The Observer Effect will provide audiences with a deeper, more comprehensive look at key news issues and stories that perhaps lacked in coverage, but it’s also a deeper insight into the guest as they open up on issues they don’t usually comment on.”

Shine Australia CEO Mark Fennessy said, “This is an exciting project for Shine. We’re looking forward to bringing to life the long-form interview through meaningful discussion and analysis that genuinely resonates. In this election year it’s essential to go beyond the spin, and by having a stellar team of writers and researchers plus extraordinary guests who influence our national conversation, we have every ambition to make this an appointment to view television each week.”

Ellen Fanning, who joins The Observer Effect as host, has had an illustrious career in journalism. Ellen spent the first 10 years of her career at the ABC and was the youngest person and first woman to host a national current affairs program when she took the chair for PM in 1992. She has served as the ABC’s Washington correspondent, a reporter on 60 Minutes and was the last presenter of the Sunday program.

Ellen has also spent time as a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and made a documentary for SBS looking at ethical dilemmas of journalism. Most recently she has been a senior reporter for The Global Mail, Australia’s first philanthropically funded, not-for-profit news and features website.

The Observer Effect is made by Shine Australia for SBS. It will be filmed at SBS Television studios and will transmit on SBS ONE on Sunday nights beginning 2 June, 2013.

David Knox blogs Eurovision for SBS.


  1. Looks superb. Love Fanning and the SBS setting gives this a meaningful chance of not being dense (commercial news) or infuriatingly P.C. and pro-ALP (ABC).

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