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TV & Radio

Nov 21, 2012

A new Clarke and Dawn: 7.30‘s Chaser play falls flat

The Chaser's Chas Licciardello was tapped by the ABC's 7.30 to replace the much-loved Clarke and Dawe segment. Does this mean the end for the comedy duo?

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

The ABC’s 7.30 program is pressing ahead with plans to scrap the iconic Clarke and Dawe comedy segment and replace the long-standing double act with younger talent.

7.30 recently approached Chaser comedian Chas Licciardello to present a regular satire segment next year, dumping John Clarke and Bryan Dawe from the Thursday night slot. According to ABC sources, the mock interview format would have been scrapped and replaced with material similar to Licciardello’s work on ABC News 24 show Planet America and The Chaser’s Hamster Wheel. Crikey understands a salary offer was made to the comedian.

But it appears Licciardello — best known for entering a restricted APEC security zone dressed as Osama bin Laden in 2007 — wasn’t keen to fill the duo’s sizeable shoes. 7.30 executive producer Sally Neighbour told Crikey this morning: “I can categorically rule out any suggestion that Chas Licciardello will be doing anything with 7.30 next year.” She did not deny, however, that Licciardello was offered the gig.

Crikey revealed last month senior ABC staffers were angling to axe Clarke and Dawe, who have been a fixture on the public broadcaster for the past 11 years. Although the duo has an extremely loyal fan base, some within Aunty believe the segment has reached its use-by date.

EP Sally Neighbour has been widely praised for making 7.30 more energetic since joining in February, with more breaking news, investigative reporting and edgier stories that appeal to younger viewers. As Neighbour recently told Crikey‘s The Power Index:

“We’re really keen to attract a younger audience … There were a lot of stories that 7.30 would have done in the past that we don’t do now. We do very few feature stories. We don’t do filler stories. We don’t do soft stories unless they’ve got a very strong human interest appeal.”

Last month Neighbour said: “Clarke and Dawe have a current contract with the ABC for the 2012 calendar year. There have been no negotiations yet regarding 2013.”

She says she has had no further discussions with the pair since then.

Comedy blog Tumbleweeds recently noted with some alarm that, unlike in recent years, there is no Clarke and Dawe DVD scheduled for Christmas this year.

The pair, who could not be reached for comment, joined the 7.30 Report in 2000 following eight years at A Current Affair and previous stints on 3AW and ABC Radio. The pair marked 25 years performing together this year. Earlier this year Clarke told TV Tonight‘s David Knox that “it’s a gorgeous thing that we do. We love doing it every week, we’ve never got sick of it.”

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22 comments

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22 thoughts on “A new Clarke and Dawn: 7.30‘s Chaser play falls flat

  1. Mark from Melbourne

    I for one would be very sorry to see Clark and Dawes go but I have to confess I tend to watch it on the web rather than sit through the 730 report…

    Why couldn’t they still do it for ABC and it gets published on the web?

  2. paddy

    Still finding it strange that the ABC would axe such an iconic duo as Clarke & Dawe. In search of a younger demographic, they trash their major audience? Weird.

  3. jennatilz mckrackin

    Chas is very clever to reject the role as he would get the blame for Clarke and Dawes removal (despite it being a decision of Sally Neighbour.)

    It is 730’s loss however, the chaser boys, especially Chas and Andrew Hanson are at the cutting edge of satire in this country and they are comedic geniuses. The older audience may not be receiving of Chas’s genius due to some overstepping in the past in relation to darker subjects.

    The chaser boys have destroyed large sections of news ltd, TV and radio this season with their biting satire and comedy in the Hamster wheel and they deserve every opportunity afforded to them (as long as they dont have there independence interfered with), especially as our politics is infiltrated by vested interests, propaganda and American style dumbing down.

  4. klewso

    Some within Aunty may have reached their use-by-date – but it’s not Clarke & Dawe.

  5. Cyndi

    That the Chaser boys are seen by some as “at the cutting edge of satire in this country” speaks volumes about the distinct lack of cutting edge satire in this country.

  6. David R

    I also think Clarke and Dawes have passed their use-by date. The Chaser would be an excellent replacement.

  7. JMNO

    I like Clarke and Dawe and don’t think they have passed their use-by date. Of course the ABC could have short satire segments on two nights and use both groups

  8. Mr Pajama Pudding

    “Mr Scott, thanks for joining us”
    “But I’m not joining you Brian – I’m boning you”
    “Hasnt Sally already done that?”
    “Maybe she has boned you already, but I’m now boning you even further. It’s an age thing Brian”
    “An age thing?”
    That’s exactly right Brian – you and John are from the Brilliant Satire Age, whereas we need new blood from the Cheap Shots At Easy Targets Age”
    “There’s plenty of blood there?”.
    “Oh yes, one might say ‘buckets of New Blood’ there, Brian. It’s raining New Blood there”
    “It sounds like you might want to talk with the producers of True Blood?”
    “Well, that might be true ‘prima facie’ (as we say in the business Brian), but I have a problem with vampires, witches, werewolves and shifters – they just arent funny. Whereas I get plenty of excellent satire from my local church service. Every time I attend – it’s hilarious! So I think we might look in that area for new comedy blood. I mean, I wont tell Sally to do that directly – it’s just kind of understood around here that some things make me happy and other things make me unhappy”
    “And everyone wants you to be happy?
    “Well, everyone here wants that, Brian, yes”
    “It’s implicit?”
    “That’s a beautiful word Brian. Implicit…..it’s a much nicer word than explicit, for example”
    “Mr Scott, thanks for your time”
    “Well, enjoy it while you can Brian, you wont be getting any more time from me….give my best regards to John and dont forget to burn your bridges on your way out”

  9. Mr Pajama Pudding

    Breaking news – The ABC has announced the satirical duo Clarke & Dawe will be replaced by the hilarious duo Abbott and Pell.

  10. Matthew Libbis

    the enormous penis looking for a friday night funny man?