Good News Week

Good News Week

Infobox Television
show_name = Good News Week

caption = The opening titles of the 2008 season of Good News Week
show_name_2 = "GNW"
genre =
director = Martin Coombes
writer = Ian Simmons, Simon Dodd, Bruce Griffiths, Dave Bloustien, Warwick Holt, Mat Blackwell, Patrick Cook
creator =
creative_director =
developer =
presenter = Paul McDermott
(1996 – 2000, 2008 –)
Mikey Robins
(1996 – 2000, 2008 –)
Claire Hooper
(2008 –)
Julie McCrossin
(1996 – 2000)
starring =
voices =
narrated =
theme_music_composer = Hedgehoppers Anonymous
opentheme = "It's Good News Week"
endtheme =
composer =
country = AUS
language = English
num_seasons =
num_episodes =
list_episodes =
executive_producer = Ted Robinson
co_exec =
producer = Jordan Robinson
supervising_producer =
asst_producer =
co-producer = Pam Swain
editor =
story_editor =
location =
cinematography =
camera =
runtime = 42 minutes
network = ABC TV (1996 – 1998)
Network Ten (1998 – 2000, 2008 –)
picture_format = 1080i (HDTV), (2008 –)
audio_format =
first_run =
first_aired = 19 April 1996 – 2000
11 February 2008 – "present"
last_aired =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
related =
website =
production_website =
imdb_id = 0127998
tv_com_id = 5762

"Good News Week" is a satirical news-based comedy quiz show on Australian television. It originally ran from 1996 to 2000, and returned to Network Ten in 2008. It currently airs on Mondays at 8:30pm on Network Ten and Ten HD.

Hosted by former Doug Anthony All Stars member Paul McDermott, the show has a similar format to the British show "Have I Got News For You". It features two regular panellists and four guests panellists who form two opposing teams, engaging in comedic games in which they are required to answer questions about the news stories of the week to score points. The name of the show is derived from the song "It's Good News Week" by Hedgehoppers Anonymous, which is also used as the show's theme music. The show aired first on ABC TV before it was bought by Network Ten in 1999.

The show has spawned two short-lived spin-off series, the ABC's "Good News Weekend" (1998) and Ten's "GNW Night Lite" (1999).

On January 17, 2008, it was announced that the program would be renewed for a new run on Network Ten and Ten HD after the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike caused many of Ten's imported US programs to cease production.


"Good News Week"'s format is based on that of the British program "Have I Got News For You", although host Paul McDermott says that the basic idea behind the show, "of looking at the news in a satirical way, the week's events, 'this is the week that was', goes back to early radio programs." [cite web |author=Staff Writer | url= | title=Yes, Prime Minister |work=Sunday Telegraph |date=2000-03-12 | accessdate=2008-07-25] Executive producer Ted Robinson has said that the show's humour is usually less genteel than "Have I Got News For You" as the British series is aimed at an older, over-fifty audience whereas "Good News Week" is most popular among the 18 to 39 age group. "We are at the rabid mongrel end of the market," he says. [cite web |author=McLean, Sandra | url= | title=News Hounds |work=The Mercury |date=1997-09-08 | accessdate=2008-07-25]

McDermott opens each show with a scripted monologue in which dissects newsworthy events in a humorous manner. He ends by throwing his cue cards in the air, concluding "and that's the good news!" Other than this introduction and McDermott's linking monologues between segments, the show is entirely unscripted and unrehearsed. [cite web |author=Tabakoff, Jenny | url= | title=Off the Cuff and On the Air |work=Sydney Morning Herald |date=1999-09-15 | accessdate=2008-07-25]

Each episode features six panellists, divided into two teams. Teams are captained by the two regular panellists, former radio comedian Mikey Robins and stand-up comedian Claire Hooper. The four guest panellists consist of a combination of comedians, media personalities and politicians. Over a series of rounds, the competing teams attempt to score points by answering questions about the week's news events. In addition to a series of recurring segments, the show features three regular games. In the opening game, "What's the Story?", each team is shown a short, cryptic clip of a recent news item and asked to figure out what the story is. Early in the show, in a segment known as "Strange But True" each team reveals three clues they have been given regarding a quirky news story. The clues are revisited in the penultimate game, when the teams must use the clues to determine what the story is. The closing game, "Dirty Sexy Fast Money", was introduced in the 2008 season and follows the format of a "fast money" round.


Initial run, 1996-2000

The series premiered on the ABC on April 12, 1996, with an initial order of 50 episodes.cite web |author=Molitorisz, Sascha | url= | title=Looking For The Good News |work=The Age |date=2000-04-06 | accessdate=2008-07-25] [cite web |author=Staff writer | url= | title=Review |work=Herald Sun |date=1996-04-10 | accessdate=2008-07-19] The ABC was initially apprehensive about executive producer Ted Robinson's choice of Paul McDermott for host. He had dreadlocks at the time, and was best known for the crude, aggressive "bad boy" character he had played in the Doug Anthony All Stars, which many tended to confuse with his actual personality. In addition, it was doubted that he was capable of ad libbing and speaking well, as in past interviews he had usually allowed his fellow band members to do most of the talking. McDermott cut off his dreadlocks for the show and succeeded in broadening his appeal by showing a gentler, more charming side as host. [cite web |author=Cossar, Lynne | url= | title=The News is Good for This Allstar |work=The Age |date=1997-10-09 | accessdate=2008-07-19] He has said that although he feels there are still elements of his more aggressive character in "Good News Week", they are "toned down... I've got to be the generous host now, spin-the-wheel sort of thing. I'm basing myself on Mike Brady now. I'm the disciplinarian." [cite web |author=Schembri, Jim | url= | title=Now For The News |work=The Age |date=1998-03-26 | accessdate=2008-07-19] Mikey Robins was a part of the series from its beginning as one of the team captains. Both Judith Lucy and Anthony Ackroyd briefly participated as the second team captain before Julie McCrossin took on the role.

The show initially struggled to gain a following, and McDermott admits that the early shows were "a little wobbly" and that he wasn't quite sure of the role he was supposed to be playing. "After only six episodes the critics said we were goners," says Robins. "In fact, the first publicity we got said we were axed." [cite web |author=Johnston, Tony | url= | title=Let The Good Times Roll |work=Herald Sun |date=1999-03-21 | accessdate=2008-07-19] In late 1996, while facing budget cuts, the ABC announced the cancellation of "Good News Week", but later reversed the decision. [cite web |author=Staff writer | url= | title=Review |work=Herald Sun |date=1997-04-02 | accessdate=2008-07-19] The series grew in popularity and by 1997 was attracting an average of 750,000 viewers nationally, occasionally beating commercial stations in the ratings. [cite web |author=Freeman-Greene, Suzy | url= | title=The Bad Boy of Good News |work=The Age |date=1998-06-13 | accessdate=2008-07-19]

In 1999, Network Ten purchased the rights to "Good News Week" in a reported $6 million deal after outbidding the Seven Network, the Nine Network and the ABC. [cite web |author=Fidgeon, Robert | url= | title=Ten's Good News |work=Herald Sun |date=1999-01-27 | accessdate=2008-07-25] The show's move to commercial television sparked outrage among some fans, who felt that this was a 'sell-out', however the show's staff expressed optimism about the change, describing it as a new challenge and a chance to reinvent themselves. Robins has described ABC as a channel that allows new talent to find their feet, and argued that as "Good News Week" had achieved this it was time to move on and make way for other performers. He added that Ten had allowed the writers great artistic freedom, perhaps even more than the ABC had permitted. "We can be even crueller about the Government without getting messages from on high," he said. [cite web |author=Devlin, Rebekah | url= | title=Changing Channels |work=The Age |date=1999-03-18 | accessdate=2008-07-19] The show retained all of its stars and the majority of writers and technical staff after the transition. [cite web |author=Mathieson, Craig | url= | title=News Hounds |work=Rolling Stone |month=July | year=1999 | accessdate=2008-07-25]

Among the show's guest panellists were Adam Spencer, Margaret Scott, Peter Berner, Amanda Keller, Tanya Bulmer, Anthony Morgan, Rod Quantock, Rove McManus, Johanna Griggs and Hugh Jackman, as well as several political figures such as Democrat senator Natasha Stott Despoja, then-Minister for Justice and Customs Amanda Vanstone and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Tim Fischer. [cite web |author=Staff Writer | url= | title=Yes, Prime Minister |work=Sunday Telegraph |date=2000-03-12 | accessdate=2008-07-25] Amanda Keller, a frequent panellist, advised guests of the show to "talk, no matter what... Err on the side of verbal diarrhoea because they can always cut things out." [cite web |author=Tabakoff, Jenny | url= | title=Off the Cuff and On the Air |work=Sydney Morning Herald |date=1999-09-15 | accessdate=2008-07-25]

Ten cancelled the series in 2000, but early in 2001 announced that it had struck a deal for a limited series of "Good News Week" specials and debates. [cite web |author=Staff writer | url= | title=Good News For Mikey Fans |work=Daily Telegraph |date=2001-02-22 | accessdate=2008-07-25]

New series, 2008

While Ten had initially intended only to bring back "Good News Week" as a one-off special, the short supply of US shows resulting from the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike caused the network to take an interest in developing more local programs and the show returned as a weekly series. The revived series premiered on February 11, 2008 with McDermott reprising his role as host. Robins returned as a team captain and comedian Claire Hooper replaced McCrossin as the opposing captain. [cite web |author=Duck, Siobhan | url=,21598,23169714-5005382,00.html | title=TV Guide: Here's good news for Aussie production | |date=2008-02-06 | accessdate=2008-07-19]

Many segments from the show's initial run, such as "What's the Story?", "Strange But True", "Magazine Mastermind", "Buzzers of Death" and "Warren", are largely unchanged, while others have been updated or renamed such as "So You Think You Can Mime?" (formerly "Bad Street Theatre") and "Blow Up Your Pants (formerly "Scattergories"). New segments include "Couch Potato" and "Dirty Sexy Fast Money", the show's weekly final challenge.

The program is available for streaming via the Ten website, and also available for download as a vodcast. The main differences between the broadcast version and the vodcast are the presence of a larger Ten watermark in the lower right corner, and the use of generic opening music instead of the original theme song used in the broadcast version.

After its first year back, "Good News Week" took a short hiatus but is scheduled to return on October 13, 2008.


In 1998, a ten-week series entitled "Good News Weekend" aired on the ABC in the Saturday night time slot usually occupied by Roy and HG, who were away working in Britain at the time. The show was hosted by McDermott and featured regular team captains Robins and McCrossin. Unlike the weekly show, "Good News Weekend" was focussed more strongly on popular culture than the news and frequently featured musical guests and stand-up performers. The shows were recorded live, with the exception of a few prerecorded sketches. [cite web |author=Yallamas, Lisa | url= | title=Working for the Weekend |work=Courier Mail |date=1998-06-10 | accessdate=2008-07-25]

During 1999, a second spin-off was created for Network Ten. "GNW Night Lite" featured the regular cast, in addition to Flacco and The Sandman. Like "Good News Weekend", it was focussed on music and variety and games tended to relate to popular culture rather than current events. [cite web |author=Staff Writer | url= | title=Yes, Prime Minister |work=Sunday Telegraph |date=2000-03-12 | accessdate=2008-07-25] McDermott describes the show as having been "a fairly radical departure" and says that they initially struggled with it, but by 2000 had found a combination with which they were comfortable. [cite web |author=Molitorisz, Sascha | url= | title=Looking For The Good News |work=The Age |date=2000-04-06 | accessdate=2008-07-25]


Several items of merchandise were available from ABC stores including
* Two Books (Good News Week Book One, Good News Week Book Two)
* Two CDs (Paul McDermott Unplugged: The Good News Week Tapes Volume 1, and Live Songs from Good News Week: The Good News Week Tapes Volume 2)
* VHS Video (Good News Week: Unseen and Obscene).

See also

* List of Australian television series


External links

* [ Official Site]
* [;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A437532%20|%20Number%3A699831%20|%20Number%3A455337;querytype=;resCount=10 Good News Week at the National Film and Sound Archive]

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