Dr Mumbo

The Chaser: A pre-emptive apology

Ordinarily, Dr Mumbo wouldn’t have been at all surprised at receiving a press release from the ABC apologising for The Chaser. However the team’s new show, The Chaser’s Media Circus, doesn’t start broadcasting until next month.

But no harm in getting the apology in early, Dr Mumbo reckons.


ABC TV has today issued a pre-emptive apology for the whole series of the Chaser team’s new show, The Chaser’s Media Circus, which starts on ABC on Wednesday 15 October at 8.30pm and continues for 8 weeks.

“Looking forward a few weeks, we’ll definitely have to admit that in retrospect it could have been prevented,” said the ABC in a media release with an intentionally misleading headline.

“This is a group that not only does evil, it revels in evil,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott in comments which appear to have been taken out of context.

The Chaser’s Media Circus is a new format by the team’s production company Giant Dwarf, makers of The Hamster Wheel, The Checkout, and election specials Yes We Canberra and The Hamster Decides.  

“The Media Circus format is kind of like The Hamster Wheel… of Fortune,” said host Craig Reucassel. “It combines the Chaser team’s take on the week’s news and current affairs with the satirical comedy and media analysis of The Hamster Wheel and chucks it all together in the form of games. For the Chaser team, news really is a game now.”

“We’re hoping it will be a new low in the decline of news into entertainment,” said executive producer Julian Morrow. “We can’t destroy news, but degrading seems achievable.”

Filmed in front of a live studio audience each week shortly before broadcast, The Chaser’s Media Circus sees a mix of journalists, comedians and members of the program’s team (including writer/performers from The Checkout Ben Jenkins, Zoë Norton Lodge and Scott Abbot) dissect the week’s news and media through games like:

●        Out of Order: Where teams have to organise news stories in the order they appeared in a TV news bulletin. Which is deemed most important – Syria’s civil war, the AFL results, or a neighbourly dispute over a garage roller door?

●        Press Pack: Where a team member plays the part of a public figure at a press conference defending an embarrassing gaffe. Or whatever Jacqui Lambie said that particular week.

●        Evil Mastermind: A fun game for the whole family where you have to decide whether a quote about “evil” is by Tony Abbott or a cartoon super-villain. 

Each episode of Media Circus will also feature Chas Licciardello in the role of a one-man media brains trust, a sort of cross between Dickie Knee and Rain Man.

“It’s a shame that all the ABC’s good work for Mental Health Week (5-12 October) will be immediately cancelled out by the return of the Chaser team,” said ABC Director of Television Richard Finlayson.


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