Wednesday Night Fever rewrites after Labor spill

wnfvEXCLUSIVE: If you thought last night’s breaking news was a headache for TV programmers, spare a thought for the team behind ABC1’s upcoming Wednesday Night Fever.

The topical comedy goes to air next week with parodies of  Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, but last night was frantically reworking its sketches ahead of a Tuesday night recording.

Last night Executive Producer Rick Kalowski told TV Tonight material would have to be reworked to reflect the change in the Labor leadership.

“We spent the afternoon today planning two versions depending on what happened but it totally gives our first episode a different complexion. We really have to try and step up to it, I think,” he said.

“But if we can’t pull it off then we aren’t doing what we said we’d do which is to give people a show where people get their news from comedy.

“We only delivered our pilot to the network at the start of this week so we were writing from scratch anyway. So the writing was only really starting today.”

The show features Amanda Bishop (At Home with Julia) doing her renowned Gillard impression and Paul McCarthy (Comedy Inc) as Kevin Rudd. But Kalowski says their impersonations can remain, just with new material.

“In terms of throwing things out we will just not do certain items that in a normal week we might have done,” he said.

“We were always doing Rudd and Gillard. In fact in our pilot we did do an interview with Sammy J. and Gillard and Rudd together.

“The amusing thing it does do is create greater urgency for Amanda Bishop to do her Leigh Sales impersonation!

“But beyond that these were all key characters we were going to be doing in the show anyway.”

Wednesday Night Fever will follow the Chaser model of filming just 24 hours before it airs in order to remain on topic. After recording before an audience early on Tuesday night a razor-tight post-production process will begin.

“I walk out of the show with the Series Producer Andy Nehl, we cut the show until 2am. At 7am we start doing the audio mix until 3:30 on the Wednesday. Then it’s reviewed by Legal, Classification, Editorial Policies and tech-checked. All of that basically takes us up to airtime,” he said.

“We tape the show Tuesday night so we have 5 days to write the whole show.

“But it could have been worse. They could have dumped her on a Tuesday night and we’d go to air the next day with a whole bunch of sketches that were completely out of date.

“It’s very exciting but I don’t think I’ll be sleeping very much the next few days.

Kalowski even toyed with the idea of doing one final At Home with Julia sketch.

“As I speak to you we have the entire writing team and cast exchanging emails and texts trying to work out what we’re going to do!” he admitted.

“It’s God’s way of saying ‘You said you wanted to do a 100% topical show now let’s see if you can do it.’

“And the possibility of doing stuff with Gillard as the Prime Minister in retirement is very amusing to me!”

Wednesday Night Fever premieres 9:30pm Wednesday on ABC1.

Audience Tix are available at


  1. @ Ann

    If anyone thinks they do not get their taxpayers moneys worth out of the ABC, should compare the total amount they have to fork out for the pay TV services.

  2. Secret Squirrel

    Regarding the (ex-)PM knitting – I heard that the crew arrived for the shoot earlier than expected and Julia had to quickly grab the knitting off Tim before anyone noticed.

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