“These guys are the smartest, funniest producers in the country and they’re handing over the wheel to us.”

Tim McDonald explains how The Cheap Seats is put together by a small team and recorded just hours before screening.

Tim McDonald and Melanie Bracewell still can’t believe their luck in hosting, and leading the editorial direction, of 10’s The Cheap Seats.

McDonald recently told TV Tonight how the show is put together each week, poring over video clips.

“Show-wise it’s Mel and me, and we’ve got a small team of researchers who help us watch stuff. But honestly Mel and I spend a lot of time over the five days watching stuff. We meet up on a Monday morning and it’s just the two of us putting the show together,” he explained.

“When Working Dog said, ‘We’re interested in doing a show… what do you guys want to do?’ we were a bit taken aback.

“These guys are the smartest, funniest producers in the country and they’re handing over the wheel to us. It was a bit daunting at first but they’ve been so supportive.

“They chip in every now and then with ideas and help. But really, it’s our Mel, me and our core team who do a great job just putting an hour together.”

The run-down is finalised as late as possible to keep it current.

“Monday morning is the best because I can’t wait to get in and show Mel what I’ve found. I know that she’s found something over the weekend I can’t wait to see. If we can make each other laugh, that’s the ‘secret formula’ that works. If we find something that tickles both of our fancies we put in the show and it tends to go alright,” said McDonald.

“Basically if you were to spend a day in our production office, you’d see two people madly typing on a keyboard and waiting for their lunch to arrive. So that’s basically the experience here.

“But by the end of Monday we’ve managed to somehow cobble what us and the research the team have found into some sort of shape. Then we go in on Tuesday and knock it out.”

The show is filmed late on Tuesday largely to meet legal demands and captions.

“We try to keep it as live as possible. The record is not long. We hear stories of other TV shows recording for six or seven hours. We basically record for as long as the show is and we try and keep that live feel.”

The Cheap Seats screens 8:40pm Tuesdays on 10.

7 Responses

  1. Absolutely my highlight watch of the week and I’m super impressed to read that Mel & Tim coordinate the majority of the show themselves! Its even more upsetting knowing this, that there is no Logie nom for them this year – really sad about that for them.

  2. Love the show, just disappointed they didn’t get any Logie recognition this year. I thought Tony Armstrong would be great as a new permanent sports presenter, rather than rotating each week. Interesting that he now has his own sports show…feels like someone is reading my mind.

  3. Really enjoy watching it with my eldest son – it’s really the only news he watches! Mel Tracina has been a real find too. If Tim could look up at the camera a fraction more and spend a little less time looking down and delivering gags to the monitor it would be perfect.

  4. Credit to Ten and Working Dog for giving this a go and persisting. It grew to become a hit for the troubled Ten Network and looks like it’s found a place in the heart of loyal viewers to become a Tuesday tv mainstay. Credit to Tim Mel and crew too of course

Leave a Reply