Last year Foxtel rolled a big gamble on its sketch comedy series Open Slather produced by Laura Waters and Rick McKenna.
Despite an impressive launch the show nosedived in the ratings with disappointing reviews. Over its 20 episodes the show never managed to find a sustained audience.
TV Tonight recently asked Foxtel Director of Brian Walsh what he felt was the show’s key problem?
“The writing,” he admitted.
“They had a lot of issues with the writers room and changes in personnel.
“On paper it was all there. You had all the big names, with Laura and Rick. We gave it our all. But in the end the audiences just weren’t there there for it.”
Open Slather was Foxtel’s biggest investment in local comedy in years. But it is in discussions on new projects.
“My take on it is that Drama in this country has evolved and developed because we keep investing in writing,” he continued.
“All of the networks have been heavily committed to Drama. But Comedy has been very hit and miss.
“It’s very hard to build an industry of Comedy writers if the commissions are few and far between.”
“But we uncovered some great comedic talent. We said to Princess and Rick McKenna, ‘Let’s not lost the talent we’ve invested in.’ So many of the cast of Open Slather are involved in the new pilots that we’ve been funding.”
In addition to new projects in development Foxtel has animated comedy Pacific Heat from Working Dog and Whose Line Is It Anyway Australia from Roving Enterprises both due this year.
“I’m confident we’ll continue our commitment to Australian Comedy and we’re exploring fresh ideas,” he added,
“Open Slather was a risk, as all Comedy is. We’ve just got to keep working at it.”