A new weeknight comedy show Tonightly with Tom Ballard will launch a rebrand for ABC2 to be known as ABC Comedy.
The relaunch on Monday December 4 will end ABC2 after 12 years, with a primetime comedy line-up from 7:30pm (ABC KIDS will continue in daytime) featuring Australian & international titles.
As tipped by TV Tonight Tonightly with Tom Ballard will air at 9pm Monday – Thursday with a “Best Of” edition on Fridays.
Ballard will be joined by field reporters Greta Lee-Jackson (SkitBox), Greg Larsen (Fancy Boy) and Bridie Connell (Whose Line Is It Anyway? Australia).
Ballard tells TV Tonight, while other shows aimed at youth audiences present fresh news his focus will be on humour.
“We’re a Comedy show. We don’t have the journalistic nous of those other ones. We’re sometimes idiots and that will be fully apparent when people tune in to Tonightly,” he says.
“The world doesn’t need more news! They need jokes about the news, dammit.
“It is an entirely original format! I can’t think of any other show in the entire world that is anything like it at all!”
Tonightly will screen for 3 weeks in December before breaking for Christmas and returning on January 8th. It will include a studio audience, recording As Live in Ultimo, 2 hours ahead of broadcast.
“We’re starting at the end of what’s been a crazy, crazy year for Australia & the World, so we will have some fun looking back at the year that was as well as keeping track of things that are breaking, generally,” he explains.
“Obviously things will be reflective and reactive, following news throughout the week. The vast majority will be ripped from the day’s headlines in online, culture, sport, tech, politics –anything we think we can make damn funny.
“But we will also be working on longer-form stories that we think aren’t in the national conversation that we think are interesting, and bringing them to the fore. That could be either at the desk or with 1 of 3 reporters going out to rural, buttf*** nowhere.”
The show will also send content via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iview and podcasts to reach its target audience.
“Human beings with eyeballs and ratings boxes,” Ballard jokes.
“We don’t think a show like this has been on Australian television for a while, going back to Tonight Live with Steve Vizard in the early 90s. But in terms of a Comedy show, with the LOLs and yuk yuks, every night of the week –that’s us.
“I’ve heard about some little show called The Daily Show which is Canadian or American or something. That started as a hybrid show of a Tonight show and news bulletin parodies.”
Andrew Garrick & Nick Hayden are executive producers whilst Michael Chamberlain heads up a writing team of 5.
“It’s the best TV show and everybody has to watch it,” he declares.
“But also reserve judgment for a little while, while we figure out what the hell we’re doing!
“It’s worth having a crack at it. I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t do it.”
Nobody can begrudge him that.
“I will make a guarantee for the readers of TV Tonight that this show will be funnier than Q&A!”
Tonightly with Tom Ballard begins 9pm Monday December 4 on ABC Comedy.