Rumour: Charlie Pickering for Hypotheticals revival

An interesting piece in today’s Australian speculates that Charlie Pickering could front a revival of the Hypotheticals brand.

Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals ran intermittently from 1985 – 2009 with Roberston moderating large debates in which notable people, including former and current politicians, to discuss issues by assuming imagined identities in hypothetical situations.

It takes quite some skill to conduct these and Robertson QC was a master at it. But Pickering, who is a former lawyer, could give it a red hot go with some smartly-produced pilots.

God knows there are plenty of ethical questions that could be given the debate treatment.

The ABC says it is “definitely not correct” to say Hypotheticals will directly replace The Checkout. “The ABC will ­announce its upcoming slate of new and returning series in due course,” a spokesman said.


  1. I too struggle with seeing Pickering doing this justice. Robertson was so clever and could quickly twist the narrative away from the audience leanings. It might work if they have two hosts (Jenny Brockie comes to mind) so you sort of have a prosecutor and defender.

    • Yesss… it really does need someone who’s not only both whip-smart and quick to recognise the interesting bits as they arise, but also skilled enough to naturally steer away from the irrelevant dead-ends.

      No offence to Charlie, but he’d barely rate 1/3. Shaun Micallef? Maybe 2.5/3 (and you’d never keep him from driving it into farce just to highlight any absurdities that pop up. Leigh Sales, maybe?

      It’ll probably end up missing the point of hypotheticals entirely, and be hosted by Tony Jones sticking to a script…

      • And therein lies the biggest problem with this format. It cannot be played for laughs, it can’t be presented as a game show or a smug Gruen thing.
        Micallef is certainly intelligent enough to wrap people up in the “what if’s” (which is the central premise of the format), but I wouldn’t trust him to not take it into absurdity.
        I would pitch it as a more entertaining mix of Q&A and Insight, but get some interesting people.

  2. Charlie is not technically a lawyer as he never sat for his articles. I think he would be great as long as they can introduce some fresh faces & not the same B grade comedians most shows have nowadays.

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