Ask almost any TV producer and they will tell you the same thing: having your show feature on Gogglebox is a dream.
It’s primetime exposure, demonstrating how your show is received on the couch and triggering word of mouth. For ‘off-Broadway’ docos and lifestyle shows, some of which screen on public broadcasters in odd timeslots, it’s publicity you can’t buy.
“There are some that do it more than others. ABC and SBS are very forthcoming, and obviously 10 and Foxtel. It’s funny Nine have become even more friendly over the last three years. I don’t know why!” executive producer David McDonald tells TV Tonight.
“To be honest Seven too – not with everything but certain shows. They all know when they want a little push with something.
“With ABC and SBS it’s a great relationship. I think they know (its value). They take the clips and post it on their social pages, like Gardening Australia or whatever it might be.”
Some shows are tailor-made for Gogglebox: funny, insightful, tugging at the heartstrings -and a buried TV treasure. McDonald is expert at what will resonate with his couch reviewers.
“Love on the Spectrum first aired in November 2019, but we’d just finished Gogglebox. I thought, ‘Are you kidding me? That was brilliant! That would have absolutely slayed on Gogglebox! I would have loved it.’ I think it got replayed at the beginning of 2020, so we did it then.
“The Secrets of Queen Victoria on SBS was hilarious, because it was just a dry documentary. Historical things are great, because there’s all sorts of oddities in it and it’s always delivered so straight. It’s better for us to bounce off, whereas doing comedy on Comedy is very hard.”
Last year Gogglebox was praised for reflecting how Australians were living with the pandemic and its restrictions. 91-year-old Emmie Silbery was forced to drop out of the show as were art dealers Mick & Di, if temporarily. Even Jad was limited in sitting alongside new parents Matty and Sarah Marie (zooming it in instead).
“When the story broke we were making fun of it. … then we made a little less fun of it. Then we realised, ‘Oh no. We’re in no real problem here,'” McDonald recalls.
“But it was kind of a privilege to have a show that was that immediate and reacted straightaway with people….. not six months later, that was the joy of doing it. Gogglebox UK had the same thing, a lockdown and then the ratings soared. And they had it twice.”
This year the full cast are set to return, including Emmie with daughter Kerry and granddaughter Isabelle, while Sydney best friends Kaday and Chantel have brand new digs.
Foxtel has also flagged a Celebrity Gogglebox for Australia.
“We’re still talking,” McDonald explains. “It’s been talked about for a little while. I would say it’s going to happen.”
Gogglebox returns 7:30pm Wednesday on LifeStyle, 8:30pm Thursday on 10.