“Everyone has put network rivalries to one side… for a much more important cause.”

Executive Producer Brent Williams is overseeing Australia Unites, the first joint benefit by three networks in 17 years.

For the first time in 17 years, networks Nine, Seven and 10 will mount a joint broadcast to benefit communities affected by devastating floods in NSW and Queensland.

Hosts include Scott Cam, Sylvia Jeffreys, Andy Lee, Peter Overton Natalie Barr, David Koch, Sonia Kruger, Mark Ferguson, Carrie Bickmore, Dr. Chris Brown, Amanda Keller and Osher Günsberg.

Performers will include Tones And I, Jimmy Barnes, Delta Goodrem, Jon Stevens, Missy Higgins, Jessica Mauboy, Vanessa Amorosi, Hunters and Collectors, Guy Sebastian, Kate Miller-Heidke, The Living End, Casey Donovan and Sheppard.

Executive Producer Brent Williams told TV Tonight network rivalries had been put aside for the event he is bringing together in just a single week.

How did the event come about and how were broadcasters brought on board?
BW: We have all been incredibly saddened and concerned about the events that have unfolded over the last few weeks and collectively we all realised we needed to do whatever we could to try and help.

Where will the event be staged? Where is broadcast central and where do you cross to?
BW: Broadcast central will be at the Nine studios and we will be crossing to live sites all around the country. We have call centres in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney that will be full of celebrities from all networks. An incredible line-up of Australian music performers from all over the country, plus News reporters in some of the flood-impacted areas and special studio guests.

What kind of logistics are involved to make this happen live?
BW: Essentially we are putting together a live, national event that would normally be months in the making – we have a week. The logistics and challenges involved are enormous but they are nothing compared to what the communities and families impacted are experiencing at the moment.

Last time we saw a broadcast of this kind it was three hosts shoulder to shoulder in a phone room. Will this demonstrate a similar camaraderie for an important cause?
BW: Absolutely it will! Everyone has rightly put network rivalries to one side for a few days so we can come together for a much bigger and much more important cause. As the name suggests, Australia Unites is a unified effort across all three commercial networks.

Is it expected to be live in all timezones on all channels?
BW: This is a unique, multi-network television event, the likes of which has not been seen for a number of years. It will be simulcast live all around the country on the screens of Nine, 9Now, 10, 10 Play, Seven and 7 Plus. It will be available for everybody to watch and to get involved no matter how you choose to watch.

This must be where you are reminded of the spirit of the industry to come together when fellow Australians are in need?
BW: It has obviously been a whirlwind couple of days but we have been absolutely blown away by the number of people who instantly put their hand up to be involved. On camera talent, behind the scenes production, musical artists, external companies providing equipment, the list goes on and on. To everyone involved we say a huge thank you and to everyone impacted by these devastating floods, our thoughts are with you and we hope Saturday night can make a difference.

All proceeds from the telethon will be donated to Australian Red Cross.

Donations: redcross.org.au/floodsappeal or by calling 1800 733 276.

Australia Unites: Red Cross Flood Appeal
Saturday, March 12, Live at 7.30pm AEDT
Nine and 9Now, Seven and 7Plus and 10 and 10 Play.*
*check local guides

Photo: NSW SES

4 Responses

  1. I will participate however it is delivered ….and yes, many of my US friend would love to donate….they did during the fires….Well done to everyone concerned 👌💜

  2. Thanks for the interview David!
    Do you know if there is plans to remove geo-blocking so internationals can watch and donate? Know it is Australia Unites, however Think this would be a great opportunity.

    1. That’s one of the things you experience if going on a working holiday in the UK. I really missed some shows like Rage. I’m not sure if they would or could for their main Freeview streams because of Digital Rights Management. They could set up a global stream on YouTube or something like that. There are Australians living and working everywhere, and people in general that are interested, so that should be factored. It’s the same with the hospital appeals that only broadcast within the states when there are many that live in other states/territories or have family in other states and are wanting to join in and help out with donations. It can only increase the chances for donations and that’s a good thing.

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