Andrew Denton reflects on Hungry Beast
10 years after it ended, Andrew Denton is proud of the way an ABC show uncovered media talent.
For those who remember it, Hungry Beast was a wildly ambitious ABC project, but it has left a legacy that can be found in various corners of the media.
Launched by Zapruder’s Other Films, it screened from 2009 – 2011, created by Denton, Jon Casimir and Andy Nehl, as a hybrid between a current affairs and a satire / comedy show. It won its second Walkley Award just two days before the ABC axe fell.
Originally 19 presenters were used, including Marc Fennell, Kirsten Drysdale, Nicholas Hayden, Dan Ilic, Monique Schafter, Chris Leben, Veronica Milsom, Kirk Docker, Lewis Hobba, before it was pared back to 4.
Each episode themed around specific issues (e.g. Secrets, Waste, Captivity, Faking It, Download, Perfection and Wealth) and regular segments included Vox pops, “Follow The Money” and “The Beast File”.
Denton has spoken proudly about tapping into a next generation of storytellers.
“We were looking for the digital generation, because we were the analogue generation. Their conversation was totally different to ours,” Denton tells the Sydney Morning Herald. “By working with and mostly becoming friends with these people 30 years younger than me, it’s kept me in a conversation with them. It stops me from becoming ossified.”
“We were a hyperlinked show,” Marc Fennell noted. “The running joke was that we made a so-so TV show but a great YouTube channel.”
Denton agrees it would be time to mount another exercise in discovering new talent.
“To his credit, some years later Mark Scott said this publicly, that the ABC erred massively in not giving the idea a couple of more years. The Feed, which does great work for SBS, frankly should be on the ABC five nights a week,” he said.
With SMH owned by Nine, is it something they might entertain, and if so where would it sit in the schedule?
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