Andrew Mercado: An open letter to Jane Kennedy regarding TV reboots

‘TV has changed a lot since Frontline but tabloid TV is still strong.’

Dear Jane Kennedy,

Last Monday’s front page headline in The Australian had me reaching for the wallet when I saw a headline suggesting Frontline might be coming back to TV.

Now, I have been campaigning about this for years (just ask Jonesy and Amanda, although Jonesy would prefer Cops LAC to return) but the timing could not be more perfect now. The 90s are back, baby, and TV series like Will & Grace, Roseanne and Murphy Brown are all picking up where they left off (even if that involves re-writing a bit of history… like Will & Grace’s kids and Dan Connor’s death).

The Age’s Karl Quinn recently wondered which Aussie series should come back and he suggested Heartbreak High (sure), Chances (um, no) and E Street (hell yeah, but what about Pacific Drive too – hope you still treasure your autographed Trey Devlin fan card). Anyway, no surprise that Quinn’s top pick was Frontline, which he described as “one of the best comedies to ever come out of this country”. Ditto that.

TV has changed a lot since Frontline but tabloid TV is still strong. Back then, there was Real Life, Hinch and Today Tonight but today, only A Current Affair and 60 Minutes survive. I agree with you that Tracey Grimshaw is brilliant but how do you send that up? Luckily, during the past 25 years there was also Naomi Robson, so put a lizard on your shoulder and pull out those shoulder pads again, because Frontline would now be hosted by Brooke Vandenberg.

You joked that Brooke probably has her own show on Sky “very late on a Friday night” where she has to “do her own hair and makeup” (could she also have to share a bathroom with Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones?). Maybe something happens to Brooke on some celeb reality show (so tragic it even features the Oldfields) and that opens the door for her to return to Frontline. Come on, you know you want to do this – who wouldn’t want to play Brooke Vandenberg when she gets to be the star and therefore, ever more monstrous than before?

Is Mike Moore (Rob Sitch) working for CNN overseas but looking for any excuse to return? Has Marty Di Stasio (Tiriel Mora) been reduced to doing infomercials? Can you please bring back publicist Jan Whelan (Genevieve Mooy)? And might someone have a fashion-mad son who wears skirts and handles Frontline’s social media while waiting for his big break … Christian Wilkins would be perfect for it.

Can’t wait to see Frontline’s version of 60 Minutes does Beirut, but what about the gender pay gap (Lisa Wilkinson), skits on Sunrise (like their all-white panels talking about indigenous issues or Samantha Armytage playing Samantha on Sex And The City opposite a horrified Kristin Davis) and Studio 10’s infamous Christmas shoot (involving Denise Drysdale, Ita Buttrose and some brussels sprouts). Plus, don’t forget, all these shows love a reality TV “controversy”, so you can send up all the shows you love too.

Jane, you did tell The Australian’s Stephen Brook in his podcast that preliminary talks were “interesting” so you’d better not be teasing me too. Frontline 2.0 is a no-brainer so I will stop pressuring you when Working Dog starts those scripts. And after that, how about D Generation: The Next Generation?

[insert insincere Brooke Vandenberg sign-off here]

Andrew Mercado

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