With much fanfare, The 7pm Project finally arrived last night, the latest in a series of news-based comedy shows that have been popping up on Australian screens in the last few years. Purporting to be "...not a satirical newscast in the style of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, but a TV show joining in the conversations going on in living rooms around the country", it seeks to engage younger viewers who have grown up with a 24/7 news cycle and short attention span. News-based comedy seems an ideal template for the Twitter generation, but it’s also a tricky art to nail in a country where our TV comedy tradition is more firmly based in sketch than news or satire.
The shift toward news comedy hybrids in Australia has given us shows such as The Chaser’s War on Everything, the revamped Good News Week and Newstopia.
Ian Simmons, the head writer for Good News Week (both incarnations) tells Crikey there’s a good reason for this shift towards the topical.