One of the more fascinating shows to have cropped up on Australian TV is The Bolt Report, which had its premiere yesterday morning on Channel Ten. It’s no secret that new Board member Gina Rinehart was strongly supportive of the launch of this show, a show which aligns closely with her own political beliefs. The show is different to any other show currently screening on Ten, with a style that would seem more at home on a cable news channel. On it’s first outing, The Bolt Report has stumbled out of the gate.
The biggest problem with The Bolt Report is the non-presence of Andrew Bolt. While I rarely ever agree with any of his views and/or claims, I do find Bolt to be an engaging TV personality. In this (what I believe to be his first hosting role), Bolt seems almost lost in the big chair where he lacks the vitality that you often find in his other media appearances. Bolts strength is in reaction and not leadership. An interview with Tony Abbott, a brief panel chat with everyone nodding their heads in unison, and some further brief to-camera opinion pieces did not an engaging Andrew Bolt make. They really need to position him in-studio with someone of a differing opinion for him to debate and shout down. Nod Time with Andrew just doesn’t work.
Timeslot-wise, the show feels like it’s on an island. Bolts News Ltd column is most effective when he starts the conversation. For the TV show to be effective, it needs to capture that same sense of value and develop into an agenda-setting program. Why then, has the show been dumped on a Sunday morning where it has been paired with Meet The Press at the tail end of the mornings political program. For the show to have any value (for Ten, the audience, and Ms Rinehart), Bolt needs to define the terms of the conversation.
I hate to even ask it, but could the show work better for Ten in that troublesome 6pm timeslot? It’d certainly be an interesting companion show to 6:30 with George Negus.
The Bolt Report feels like a low-rent cable news opinion-driven panel show that doesn’t have a strong voice. For the show to work, The Bolt Report and its host need to be Bolder. It needs a sense of passion and importance that just don’t feel present in the show in its current form. No doubt, over coming weeks, the show will shift and evolve. What Ten do with it over the coming months will be well worth paying attention to.