Waking up to nod off

Do you remember Australian Idol?

I do.

It was that crappy television show that promoted crappy musicians. Hence, my memories mainly revolve around trying to do whatever was humanly possible to avoid watching, discussing or even thinking about it.

I only bring it up today because this ‘show’ was basically rebranded as Wake Up and then broadcast by Channel Ten until everyone who woke up and turned it on fell asleep and switched it off again. Which is impressive, I admit. It’s hard to utilise a remote control when you are snoring into your weet-bix.

This show was so bad that almost anything else would have been better.

And I’m not just making this up. The top dogs at Channel Ten agree. That’s why in its spot they have put on whatever they could find after rummaging around in the network recycling bin for 30 seconds.

Now at 6am all 47 viewers will be able to watch somebody cook something and for dessert they’ll be subjected to reruns of Bold and the Beautiful.

If that’s the line up that gets to dance all over your television grave then it’s a pretty clear indication that you’ve been doing something wrong.

So let’s look at what has been going wrong.

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On Wake Up’s About’ page, allegations are made that this program was about ‘news’. In fact, the word ‘news’ is bandied about thrice, along with the news that there was a ‘newsreader’ as well: Nuala Hafner.

Hafner’s job, apparently, was to bring ‘local’ news to your bedroom all the way from Federation Square in Melbourne. That’s all well and good if you live in Richmond, but Federation Square is on the other side of Australia for pretty much any Australian not catching a tram to work.

Scattered amongst all the references to local news on this page are other ‘newsy’ phrases as well: ‘national conversation’, ‘no topic is taboo’, ‘ongoing discussion’, ‘social media’ and ‘what’s important to you’ all get a go.

All of this gives the impression that Wake Up wasn’t just any news program. It was supposedly a news program that engaged its audience on important issues through things like Twitter. Especially on the difficult issues.

Sadly, this is not the case.

A quick glimpse at Wake Up’s Twitter feed shows that the ‘About’ page actually belongs in the discount fiction section of the $2 book shop. Also, it’s clear from the last five ‘tweets’ that someone at Channel Ten thinks these are the issues that are important to the collective you. That would be us. Here goes:

  • Someone at Channel Ten got stuck in a lift two days ago.
  • The newsreader is to be congratulated for something (I’m not sure what).
  • Angelina Jolie is on next.
  • Uni students are protesting about having to contribute to their education costs.
  • Sometimes strange people stand outside the broadcast box.






For a news show, it seems Wake Up spent most of its time talking about itself.

That is maybe just one problem.

Calling Angelina Jolie news is certainly another.

And pretending to be hard hitting when celebrity gossip and left wing views are streamed across as ‘news’ would be the killer.

The arrogance of this show’s claim that it tackles the hard subjects is breathtaking. I haven’t trawled through its back catalogue, but I bet there wouldn’t be a story on what actually happens in an abortion. And I’d wager a dollar that it has never broadcast anything about Islam that doesn’t gloss it up as a religion of peace.

In fact, the content of this show is just what you’d expect if you focused-grouped whatever bodies you could shovel off Oxford Street the day after Mardi Gras and then screened out the lone ‘right’ response for balance.

New age froth and bubbles, outrage at responsibility, Justin Bieber’s haircut and some gay guy from California at 7:45 to tell us about the latest Hollywood divorce. That’s the entire plot of Wake Up every day.

It’s so ho hum and predictable that I was not in the least bit surprised to find out today that Wake Up’s sole male voice, James Mathison, spends his time prank calling talkback radio at 4am to protest against the policies that have stopped the boats.

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When Channel Ten launched Wake Up it tried to be clever. It tried to outdo Sunrise and Today in the frivolity stakes.

It was a mistake.

Television is not hard. You don’t have to put anything good on. If that was the case the entire industry would have collapsed shortly after I Love Lucy went to air.

Instead, networks only have to put something less lame than their competitors on the box and they’ll get the brain dead to tune in and watch the advertisements.

Channel Ten went the other way. It went out all guns blazing to broadcast the lamest show possible in competition to the duds already on air at Channel 7 and Channel 9.

What Channel Ten should have done is differentiate itself by giving Australians a serious morning news service. Then Australians might have tuned in and stayed awake long enough to ‘tweet’ about it.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. Morning telly is screaming out for decent news programming…a sad state of affairs when the ABC is the closest thing we can get to news in the a.m.

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  2. Precisely why i would rather smack my face against a brick wall rather than watch sunrise or today.

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  3. You’re running out of things to talk about aren’t you?

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