Since it began in 2013 The Feed has undergone a number of changes in its format & presentation.
It was originally a 15 minute show in 2013 hosted by Marc Fennell on SBS2, then it became half hour adding Jeanette “Jan Fran” Francis as co-host, moving to SBS VICELAND and then expanding to a one hour format entirely of field stories.
Now it is changing once again, heading to Tuesday nights on SBS with a half hour show, hosted in the studio by Fennell and Alice Matthews.
But what hasn’t changed is the show’s editorial desire to offer news and current affairs with an SBS perspective.
“The Feed exists for two different reasons” Fennell explains. “To tell you something about a big news story currently that you won’t see somewhere else; or taking something big that has been covered a lot, and turning it around to ask ‘What is a different way of examining this issue?’
“Where The Feed really shines is in stories that are a little bit outside the news you find on other current affairs programmes.”
“It feels like we’re building a brand new show”
Fennell and supervising producer Una Butorac are the only two original members. Joining them for 2020 is Alex Lee (The Checkout) who will contribute comedy items.
“In some ways it feels like we’re building a brand new show,” he continues.
“Because we’ve got so many new people there’s a very different energy about the show. So it’s a bit re-born in a sense.
“Because it is a show made largely by a group of people that are younger than the average TV show crew, change is kind of a normal part of it. I’ve grown to appreciate that. It never stays the same.”
This week the show enters the world of illegal squatting, while Fennell interviews the Black Eyed Peas.
On Tuesdays the show now follows from Insight and Dateline, leading into late news on SBS. The return to studio also reflects a 10pm timeslot and a sense of intimacy.
“We think it feels better for late night show,” he continues.
“We’ve done two or three pilots in the lead-up to tweak the format. Moving into the main channel there are some stylistic differences to make us feel more smooth, with the rest of the channel branding.”
But if The Feed offers news differently, how does it stand apart from The Project -where Fennell has also appeared as a guest presenter?
“I love both shows and I can tell you having presented on both of them, they are very different, and on at a very different time of night,” he explains.
“The Project is a wonderful, fun, fast-paced show that is a delight to host when I occasionally fill in. But The Feed is a late night show, that lets things sit a little bit longer.
“There are very few shows that give people as much time as we do to tell their own stories”
“There are very few shows that give people as much time as we do to tell their own stories, in their own words. I think there is an aesthetic and philosophical difference between them, but you’re also meeting people at a different time of the night.”
Making content is where Fennell is happiest, and he counts himself lucky to be welcome at SBS, 10 and ABC Radio, which together with his Audible Podcasts, make for a hectic schedule. He will also be filming stories for Dateline and there are new projects in development at SBS.
But it very nearly wasn’t the case. Fennell got his big TV break on a revamped Movie Show, signing his contract at just 18 without anybody knowing his age.
“The publicity team went pink because they didn’t realise how young I was!”
“The first day we were unveiled to the press was actually my 19th birthday. I casually mentioned it, and the publicity team went pink because they didn’t realise how young I was!” he recalls.
“What have we done, we’ve hired a child!’ Which was true, but SBS really taught me television from scratch.
“SBS just sees the world differently to the way other networks do.”
“So they are part of me and I’m part of them. SBS just sees the world differently to the way other networks do. It manages to get stories out that you just don’t see on other networks. And part of that is the mix of people that make it. It’s younger, it’s more diverse.
“And The Feed is a place for talent to come and grow. There really aren’t that many places on TV, where young comedians, reporters, journalists can come and make really interesting stuff that breaks the mould.
“It’s really important to have a show that does invest in new voices and then pushes them out in the world.”
The Feed returns 10pm Tuesday on SBS.