Kath & Kim: articles

Aunty's not noice, say Kath and Kim

A PURITANICAL approach to editorial independence cost the ABC the rights to Australia's most successful comedy show, Kath & Kim.

As the Seven Network prepares to screen the escapades of Gina Riley and Jane Turner tomorrow, it has been claimed the comedy duo jumped ship from the national broadcaster because of its refusal to allow them to shoot an episode at a luxury resort in Queensland.

When the idea was raised, the ABC -- determined not to be associated with a commercial enterprise -- is said to have invoked its editorial charter to rule out the move.

"We wanted to leave the shopping mall and muck about in golf carts at the Hyatt Coolum to kickstart the new series, but that wasn't possible because of ABC commercial restrictions," producer Rick McKenna said yesterday.

According to McKenna, negotiations stalled and creative differences intensified, driving the show's creators into the arms of Seven.

A promised marketing campaign helped swing the decision in the commercial network's favour. "Seven just got Kath & Kim better than anyone else," McKenna said. "They completely understood our brand, as opposed to just lusting after us for their own needs."

The ABC last night refused to comment on the loss of the hit show other than to suggest Seven must have offered a better deal. "We put in a bid, which they rejected, bid again, but they were still unhappy. They met their contractual obligations and were free to accept other offers," ABC publicity manager Lesna Thomas told The Weekend Australian.

Now seen in 10 countries, Logie award-winning Kath & Kim drew more than two million viewers during its most popular episodes, and DVD and video sales have grossed more than $20 million.

Riley and Turner were not concerned at the intrusion of commercial breaks. "They don't affect the comedy in any way," McKenna said. "We just use the natural punctuation marks in the humour to insert the ads."

By Graeme Blundell
August 18, 2007
The Australian