This week’s announcement of the nominees for the 58th annual TV Week Logie Awards has triggered some astounding reaction for an award that many Australians would otherwise normally declare that they have no interest in.
The nomination of The Project‘s Waleed Aly and SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin for the top award, the Gold Logie, has brought on some staggering if not confusing commentary from that beacon of journalism, The Daily Telegraph, and a sister website, Rendezview. (Although the latter’s review is actually less than clear if it is being serious or satirical) And, in turn, some of their supporters are seemingly happy to jump on the outrage bandwagon at the thought that TV’s most prized trophy might (remember, there are four other nominees) go to someone who is less than white.
The fact that it has taken 58 years for Australia’s viewing population to acknowledge talent from a diverse background is telling enough. The reaction is even more disappointing… especially given most of the critics most likely never voted nor cared for an award that they now seem so passionate about. (And with all due respect to TV Week, at the end of the day — it is a Logie award. Not a knighthood or the Nobel Peace Prize)
No doubt the nomination of Aly and Chin is a largely youth-led choice, given Aly’s profile as co-host on The Project and Chin’s self-parody perpetuated by youth current affairs program The Feed. And, no doubt, their respective profiles are boosted by social media — even though Aly avoids it but his content from The Project has certainly gone viral — which in turn has impacted on what is essentially a popularity poll.
Critics have labelled their popularity as not in line with ratings. But the Logies have never been about ratings. The Project reaches more viewers than Today, for which Karl Stefanovic won Gold a few years ago — and whose win was also on the back of a considerable social media campaign. And Aly’s on-air partner Carrie Bickmore won the same award last year. She is also nominated again this year.
Other Gold Logie winners have included stars of daytime TV — names like Mike Walsh, Ray Martin, Jeanne Little, Hazel Phillips and Maggie Tabberer — which also rates lower than its prime-time counterparts.
One year the Gold Logie was even awarded to a fictional character: Norman Gunston. And from the ABC, no less. Again, not a result in line with traditional ratings but, perhaps like Chin’s self-parody profile, was aided by Gunston’s (Garry McDonald) public campaigning for votes.
Media outlets such as The Daily Telegraph should be thrilled to see younger Australians engaging with heritage brands like the Logie Awards at a time where every traditional media outlet is facing the challenge of appealing to a generation that has so many other media options available to it. This shows that there is hope for “old media” among the millennials.
The Logie Awards have often been accused of being a relic of the past. But these nominations show that it, and its voters, are more contemporary than many might now care to admit.