Live blog: FlashForward and The Apprentice Australia

5.50pm Welcome to Mumbrella’s first ever live blog, in what’s a massive week for Australian telly.

Tonight sees the debut of Seven’s big sci-fi hope FlashForward. It did fairly well in the US telly ratings last week, but will it do as well here?

And that’s followed by The Apprentice Australia, including our home town hope Lynton Pipkorn. (That’s assuming that because he works in marketing you feel like you’re on his side.) I’m just trying not to think of the UK version where the marketing person has always turned out to be a tool.

The Apprentice logoAnd hey, as I’m at it, we’ll be talking about Ten’s The 7pm Project too – they’re going to discusssing the Vegemite iSnack 2.0 debacle.

What do you reckon? Any ratings predictions?

Here’s mine: 1.5m for FlashForward; 1.3m for The Apprentice.

More from just before 1900 AEST…

6.55pm. Chicken burger? Check. Chips? Check. I’m settled in for the coming kicking for Vegemite. It’s gotta be an open goal for The 7Pm Project…

7pm Project

7pm Looks like it’s a marketing special. They’re also going to be talking about prisoners making telemarketing calls. Right now, Hughesy’s riffing on AFL stuff…

7.08pm Standard stuff so far – more topical stuff on the young yacht girl’s solo thing. Okay topical chat, not may laught though. First time I’ve seen The 7pm Project in two or three weeks. At least the cast are looking a lot more comfortable and settled. Wish they’d get on with the Vegemite stuff though.

7.13pm Now it’s obesity. They are covering their bases. Puts me off my chicken burger.

7.19pm Arj Barker’s getting some laughs on the “dust storm tragedy”. “I’m thinking of anyone who washed their car that day…”

7.21pm Dave Hughes: “Some audiences are really stupid”. I think the punchline’s a bit obvious there, isn’t it?

7.23pm Not getting many laughs out of the prisoners making marketing calls segment despite what you’d have thought was its potential. Again Arj Barker to the rescue… I’m not sure the next piece on oil spills is going to have much more comic potential. Still, they’re setting quite a pace…

7.26: Massive gear change – not many laughs out of environmental disaster. They’re on a break now. No sign of the Vegemite saga yet. Clearly they plan to overrun the show somethign chronic. Who’d a thunk?

7.30: They dedicated about two minutes to the Vegemite stuff, despite plugging it as the main item. Still, it was topical and hilarious. If you hadn’t looked at Twitter all day.

7.30: It looks like I haven’t been missing much in the weeks since I last saw The 7pm Project. They certainly blew a comedy opportunity with the lame Vegemite stuff. It was like they knew it had huge possibilities, but realised at the last moment they’d got nothin. More, or better, writers neeeded perhaps?

Time for a break before FlashForward in about an hour…

Flash Forward

8.30pm: Right. I hope this is worth it. I’ve rejected all opportunities for previews, downloads and other sneak peaks. Looking forward to Flash Forward inordinately.

How late do you reckon Seven will overrun?

 8.37pm: It’s starting…

8.40pm. The stars are all so rugged… no unbeautiful people in this reality…

8.42: A trip to an AA meeting – bit of backstory for us there…

8.44 Ooh. A car chase. And a crash. And everybody’s unconscious…

8.48. All this chaos reminds me of the opening of Lost.

8.49 We nearly went 12 minutes without an ad break. Seven, you’re spoiling us…

Marks out of ten so far? Seven from me. Strong opening, I thought. Surgeons unconscious in operating theatres; suicides narrowly averted; exploding petrol tankers. What’s not to like? Twitter likes it so far. Can’t remember the last time I saw Twitterati sentiment this positive about a show on Aussie telly.

8.52. Back from the break

8.56. Slow motion running, sad music, epic scenes. A kangaroo???

And. Another. Break… Already. I’m warning you Seven, if you overrun, I’m still turning over for the Apprentice.

9.01 “I love you but I’ve gotta to go”. Hero cop husband; hero doctor wife…

9.03 It’s just like ER. Did I just hear the line “He’s taking a turn for the worse”? Do they really say that in hospitals? “We’re losing him!”

9.04. How convenient that everyone saw the time and date in their premonitions.

Another break already. You’re kidding…

 9.07. Twitter’s still loving it, although plenty of people noticed the bus with the not so subtle ad for Desperate Housewives on it.


“How can you compare seven billion stories?”

“You could create a website!”

Brilliant. Anyone know WordPress?

9.15pm I feel very disloyal not turning over to the ABC for Media Watch at this point

9.17 And who needs a website when you can do the same thing on a wall with PostIt notes?

9.18. I’ve just had a horrible vision of the future. The TV programmes are over-running by up to three hours beyond advertised; there’s another bloody CommBank ad with that wacky Amercian ad agency and look – there’s a new Telstra ad with the rabbit kid. Only now he’s a juvenile delinquent.

9.22 “It’s like a sign from God.” New script please…

9.24. The characters are already calling it, get this, a “flash forward”…

9.27. We’re on another ad break. I should turn over for The Apprentice in a mo (come on Lynton!) but I’m sure Nine’ll start it at least ten minutes late. Won’t they?

9.29 Moody bit. At least most of the characters have found time to wash the blood off themselves now.

9.31. Seven and Nine should both be on their next shows. Naturally neither one is showing any sign of doing so anytime soon. It’s always nice to be shown so much respect as a viewer.

9.36 Cliffhanger. Someone was awake! And The Apprentice is starting on Nine…

The Apprentice

9.37: “I can deliver a bunch of roses in one hand and a punch in the gut in the other”. Thanks, love.

9.38 If you take the looks of the stars of FlashForward, and add them to the looks of the contestants on The Apprentice and divide it by two, you hit something of an average.

 9.42 I think this might be good, if you like laughing at deluded fools, as I do.

Quote from Bouris: “The prize is a job as head of our business devleopment unit. It’s a bloody important job.” Yes, I’m sure it’s just what the contestants drteamed of as kids. Still, it does pay $200k.

Some random contestant quotes:

“I’m born to be a business man”

“I’m the kind of guy who who sets the goals and always achieves them.”

(From our Lynton:) “I’m an alpha male.” (Oh no, it looks like he’s going to be the tool) (Scroll down to the comments section where Lynton tells us they made him say that…)

The girls’ team have decided to call their team Evetus (despite a bid by Carmen to call her team, erm, Carmen). The boys are Pinnacle.

9.52. Here comes the task. It’s gardening.

9.54. When did pinstripe suits come back into fashion?

9.56 Carmen and Mary-Anne hate each other already. Outstanding.

9.57 The boys are bidding to mow the lawn at the museum near Circular Quay.

9.58 But the girls bid less and get the job. Care factor falling….

 10.01. Most of the Twitter debate so far is focused on the egoes and the girls’ bad hair. Which is fair enough. There are some traversties against hairdressing (I’m thinking of Carmen. She’s already the one to hate.)

 10.04 It’s getting quite hard to feel excited about people offering to mow lawns. Even if not every pitch begins with “I was Miss Australia 2006.”

10.06 It’s early days, but it feels like this is losing its way a bit. It’s a repetitive series of scenes of contestants offering to mow lawns.

10.10 I’m sure I spotted that there was a car sponsor (Chrysler?) If I was them I’d be furious. The three big blokes crammed in the back of the people carrier look like they’re trying to break some sort of record. They certainly aren’t being conveyed in comfort.

10.14 Clunky product placement for Hard Yakka boots there.

10.16 This seems quite well cast to me – there’s a mixture of likeable and hateable characters, with several splendidly deluded. But there’s just not much of a story to be told. You really can’t build up much tension about people mowing lawns.

10.18. It’s becoming a catch phrase “Hello, I’m Miss Australia 2006.” No, Sabrina. You’re the gardener.

10.20 I’m feeling bad being mean about Lynton. He seems quite hard worker. The boys are gettiugn their digging done better than the girls.

10.23 Another ad break. Flash Forward and The Apprentice were both an hour long. But whereas FlashForward went by in what felt like half an hour, The Apprentice has really dragged, and it’s not over yet. Mind you, it does seem to be coming to some sort of climax as both teams run out of time. Mainly it’s about hoping that team Carmen falls flat on its face.

10.26. Nooo! I was mistaken. Apprentice is 90 minutes. More than half an hour to go, with only the hope of Carmen being fired to sustain me. The women’s two gardenign jobs both seem far less well done than the boys – unless there’s some tricksy editing.

10.29. Please – no more high fives.

10.33 I’ve a feeling the best is yet to come. The slippery boardroom battles to avoid getting fired are often a pleasure. But I’ve a feeling that they’ve turned a tight hour long show into a plodding 90 minute one.

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d have turned off the telly and gone to bed by now though.

10.36. Into the boardroom to find out who won…

10.40 That’s better. Tears from Carmen when her team slagged her off. And that was before they found out they’d lost.

10.41 Did I hear that right? Is the boys’ reward a spa treatment? How 21st century. We’re on another break. I’m looking forward to the bloodshed that should follow

10.44. I was right about the spa treatment. At the Observatory hotel, where the planting was. More product placement?

10.48. This is where it gets good. After the standard rowing, Carmen chooses Jane and Sabrina to come back into the boardroom with her. Clearly Carmen deserves to get fired, but she’s so nasty and stupid she makes good telly. Surely the producers won’t have let Bouris fire her on the first opportunity? We’re about to find out… after the break.

10.53: Taxi for Jane! Purely because the hateful Carmen makes better viewing for future episodes.

They’re wrapping up now.

It was a slow start, but there’s potential. Particularly if the rest of the episodes are 60 minutes.

10.57pm. That’s it for our first live TV blog. Thanks for joining me.


Tim Burrowes


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