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    The business of being Tom Gleeson: Gold Logie winner’s Hard Quiz Kids

    Tom Gleeson is always hard to avoid on TV, but this year he’s been more prolific than usual.

    If a Gleeson diet of Hard Quiz (new episodes and daily repeats) and Taskmaster is not enough, stand by.

    Hard Quiz Kids is a spinoff of the very successful Thinkative TV format. The Kids version of the program was tried previously as a one-off special. It’s now back with 10 episodes.

    The first series featuring young contestants is one of the pillars of the rebranded ABC TV channel ABC Family.

    See also: ABC introduces two new channels – ABC Family and ABC Entertains

    The ABC’s Hard Quiz (adults) remains the main TV game for Gleeson and the production company Thinkative TV. This year they are making 35 new episodes. The recent new Wednesday night episodes came from a comedy vault at the broadcaster and were produced last year.

    The order to Thinkative for Hard Quiz Kids Season 1 was 10 episodes.

    Who’s who at Thinkative TV?

    Gleeson is not a partner in Thinkative TV. But he describes his relationship with the business as being in partnership. When asked about the name of his company, Gleeson smiled and told Mediaweek, “That’s top secret.”

    The not-so-secret people in Thinkative are Token and Guesswork Television MD Kevin Whyte, former Project producer and sometime podcaster Chris Walker and comedy legend and TV host Charlie Pickering.

    What’s Tom Gleeson’s business model?

    Live comedy is the bedrock of his brand. (Not that he would ever refer to himself as a brand.) Gleeson: “I’m still a stand-up comedian that performs live. I’m doing a tour at the moment.” That tour is Gear – Wagga Wagga, Sutherland and Mildura in June.

    “Touring live is very profitable. TV, I mean, it’s tricky. I’ve accidentally become a TV star, but it wasn’t really the plan.”

    “If I’m really honest, I used to always come at TV like, ‘Oh, that’ll be good because it’ll raise my profile and more people will go to my live shows.’

    “But Hard Quiz and Taskmaster are such high quality they are their own amazing things to do. But I’ve spent my whole career treating TV with such disdain.

    “It’s hard not to let go of that. I still host the shows with that similar attitude, but I’m not an idiot. I do look around and realise I’m on a very good wicket.

    Is treating things with disdain now central to Tom Gleeson? “It is part of my thing, but at the same time, I’m aware I’ve accidentally ended up in this position where I have a TV career, which is something I never really set out to have.”

    The business of being Tom Gleeson: Gold Logie winner’s Hard Quiz Kids

    Making TV comedy

    The economics of game shows means you need to squeeze as much into each day of filming as possible. Hard Quiz is no exception, as Gleeson explained.

    “Roughly speaking, we can make a year’s worth of Hard Quiz in about three months. That’s still a lot of work. But it’s ideal for me because it means I can do other things around the rest of the year.

    “The production staff work longer than that of course. For example, I have nothing to do with the audition process.

    “I’m also not involved in post-production. I’m not looking over the shoulder of someone editing the show. When I walk off the set on the last day, that’s pretty much when I’m finished.”

    The business of being Tom Gleeson

    Tom Gleeson moves from one successful TV show to the next and tours regularly. Is there now something of an army of people running the business, or does he run it like a small business?

    “I keep myself boutique. I don’t really have many grand ambitions.”

    Prodding further, I asked about overheads, offices and staff. “No, I’m just…according to the ATO, yes, I have some staff.

    “I don’t really have any ambitions to produce shows or form a production company. I quite enjoy doing the show that I do. It’s a boring answer for you, but I’m happy to run Hard Quiz into the ground. I’ve got no desire to finish any time soon.

    “It’s extremely gratifying that people love the show. I find the contestants constantly intriguing. I will just keep doing it forever, which I probably shouldn’t say to the media because it weakens my negotiating position because they know that I’ll always say yes!”

    Gleeson ventured that he’s able to turn down proposals that don’t interest him.

    “I’m really good at saying no. I got asked to do I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! years ago, and they threw the bank at me. I said no because it’s just not my style of show.

    “For me, it’s the show I prefer to make fun of. It’s hard to make fun of a show if I’m on it because then I have to buy into it. If I start popping up on all the reality shows it might just start eroding the other stuff that I do.

    “I’ve been asked to be a judge on The Masked Singer in the past and all that kind of stuff.

    “People like Hard Quiz, they like Taskmaster, they like my stand-up. I don’t want to upset the apple cart too much.”

    Gleeson said he wasn’t too keen on returning to radio. Earlier in his career he co-hosted Triple M evenings with Subby Valentine (Tom and Subby). He later was on air at Mix FM in Melbourne with Bridget Duclos. The station later rebranded as KIIS 101.1.

    “I loved working with Bridget, we had a great relationship and it all worked really well. Breakfast radio is one of the toughest gigs going around. The hours are horrendous.

    “This is not a nice thing to say, but you’re starting to stretch the definition of comedy for me. The idea of waking up at six o’clock in the morning and making a joke between two songs. That is not really why I got into it.”

    Gleeson and his TV night of nights win in 2019

    Making Hard Quiz Kids

    The format is similar on this spin off. The difference is, of course, the contestants are younger – aged between 10 and 13.

    Episode 1: Premieres Saturday 8 June at 7:30pm on ABC Family and ABC iview.
    Tom Gleeson has his hands full as the kids run wild over the Hard Quiz set. The young competitors stepping up to do battle in this episode are:
    Aston – really into birds of prey
    Callista – knows her way around Greek Mythology
    Toby – loves playing Minecraft
    Pippa – fascinated by the wives of King Henry VIII.
    The prize for the winner remains the same too – the Big Brass Mug.

    The post The business of being Tom Gleeson: Gold Logie winner’s Hard Quiz Kids appeared first on Mediaweek.

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