Mercado on TV: Julia, Doc and Denyer to Foxtel’s Secret City

• Sunday Night Takeaway did not get off to a good start

Yet again this year, Julia Morris and Dr Chris Brown were on fire hosting I’m A Celebrity and all the promos for their next show looked promising.

Despite these credentials though, Sunday Night Takeaway did not get off to a good start and maybe that’s because 10 stuck so ruthlessly to the UK format they were adapting. This is not the first time an overseas format has struggled because Aussie audiences do not respond the same as international audiences do. Seriously, did 10 learn nothing from the debacle that was Game Of Games?

Compared to the toxic nastiness pouring out of MAFS and MKR, who wouldn’t want a feel good family format to work for 10? But rather than slavishly copy the original, which locals are not familiar with, why not adapt it more for Chris and Julia? Why make them awkwardly stumble from one side of the giant set to the other when even the cameramen and lighting crew struggle to keep up? Just do whatever it takes to replicate their chemistry from I’m A Celebrity. And please, enough of the endless plugs for other 10 shows and personalities. Seriously, does Grant Denyer have to be on everything?

At least Grant Denyer will never host an awards show, because such hosts are now officially an endangered species. Was it our own TV Week Logie Awards, in abandoning the host some years back, that inspired the Academy Awards to go without a host too? This week’s Oscars seemed faster paced without one so let’s never waste time again picking potential hosts with a history of homophobic humour. Just get someone to do a great opening monologue, then keep rolling out those star presenters.

So that’s 10 and awards shows sorted, but how does one give advice to those media organisations allowing certain opinion writers to defend Cardinal George Pell? Is this the first time News Corp Australia newspapers and Sky News Australia have supported a convicted paedophile, and how many subscriptions may be cancelled because of it? Coming up next, let’s see what advice they dish out to new ABC boss Ita Buttrose, given she is now running the organisation they hate with such a passion.

The second series of Secret City begins on Foxtel next Tuesday and it’s still slick but getting slightly silly, with Jacki Weaver dominating the first episode (which all becomes clearer when it ends). Don Hany plays the Prime Minister and he is a much more attractive prospect than what we get in real life. But given former Prime Minister John Howard wrote a glowing character reference about George Pell for being a “great conversationalist”, perhaps the conversation at Foxtel should be now be about making another series of Devil’s Playground.

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