Why you should care about The Circle getting axed…
I have never been the target audience for Channel TEN’s morning chat show “The Circle” – Early morning chat shows are targeted to a defined female skewed “at-home-with-the-kids” market. It’s a market that has proven quite successful for Seven’s “The Morning Show” and Nine’s “Mornings” – mostly presenting a mix of celebrity gossip, lifestyle and infotainment. However, over the last few years I’ve grown to have a lot of respect for “The Circle”.
So why should I, a 24 year old young man give a flying toss about the admittedly low rating “The Circle” disappearing from our TV screens? The truth is, when I was in the final years of university and unemployed for about a year thereafter I managed to catch a bit of the show. It became somewhat of a running gag between my friends and I that I was basically a middle aged woman or that I would be late to lectures because I was too busy watching “The Circle”. At first I put it down to a bit of a schoolboy crush from Yumi Styne’s Channel V days, but after a while I realised something about the program:
They actually cared about things.
They discussed social, cultural and community issues in a really respectful, honest and carefree way that we haven’t seen on our televisions in a long time. They treated the audience with respect, intelligence and performed some powerful and impactful interviews with people from a broad cross section of the community.
Yes – they did have to pay the bills with the usual morning show fare (steak knives, vacuum cleaners, celebrity gossip and typical lifestyle fare) and weren’t without their controversy but the program marked an important point of difference from the other commercial networks.
Why it matters…
When the news came out of the axing a friend sent me a text message with a simple statement:
“Australian TV is in crisis JB!!!”
We do have a crisis when one of our major commercial networks decides that original, intelligent Australian content featuring Australian stories and perspectives is better replaced by cheap, imported American gossip programming. In losing this diversity, we lose a lot of important Australian stories.
What frustrates me the most is that we are losing a program that was willing to discuss social and community issues. A program that was willing to bring to talk about issues frankly, without needing to resort to sensationalism as we often see on Seven and Nine.
I get that Channel TEN needs to make money. It is a commercial operation, designed to deliver profit to its shareholders through selling eyeballs to advertisers, but why does Australian television struggle so hard to make money out of intelligent content?
The Circle created a unique opportunity to reframe the cheesy, gossip based morning television Seven and Nine have championed and to provide a platform for more important Australian stories. Not many of you watched it and I anticipate some criticism for defending it, but at least “The Circle” tried to mean something – and that’s more than most Australian television can say for itself at the moment. Congratulations to The Circle for making something that valued its audience, even if the audience didn’t seem to value it.
Mamamia: “RIP The Circle” writes Em Rusciano
The Circle challenges Federal MP Bob Katter
– Jonathan Brown
Jonathan is the Creative Director of We Matter Media. You can follow him @JB_AU
I’ve been sad all week and today i was even in the audience for their penultimate show. I don’t watch every day but when I can I do. I’ll have it on while I get things done around the house and sit and watch the interesting interviews and segments. Advertorials actually mean you can get stuff done without missing much. I love that is was a female led show for a largely female audience. Sure they’d have the occasional male co host, like Colin Lane today, but it was mostly women and that feels rare on Australian tv.
I’ve been thinking all week about what an alternate option could have been. As you say, morning tv is crowded with both ch7 and 9 having their own show and I wondered if a midday timeslot could work. Many lunchrooms in the working world have a tv which could creatie a lunch time audience who could catch a segment or two. Today we saw Aussie actors chatting about their new movie and Aussie music performed live…the opportunity for Australian artists to have these live on air experiences are dwindling. I’m still sad and would love to think The Circle could be resurrected in some form, but I won’t hold my breath.
I wonder did ‘The Circle’ break faith with their viewers when they showed disrespect for our courageous Australian VC recipient. My interest and respect evaporated immediately I heard Yumi and George belittle this soldier and I have not watched the show since.
I think upon viewing the footage of the comments I could see that Yumi Stynes made a mistake certainly (To which she admitted and apologised for) but I think the comments were largely taken out of context and out of step with the regular character of the show. Many people made assumptions about the intent of Yumi’s words without actually hearing them for themselves – I think her apology was sincere.
Despite that, I think the show managed to cover a lot of issues with respect and intelligence – I think it’s a pity to lose that forum on Australian television, despite what mistakes were made in the past. I don’t think that one incident outweighs the rest of the good work they did.
Much of what you say is perfectly correct. However, some issues are bigger than the interesting and often informative infotainment offered by this show format. An Australian soldier awarded the VC is clearly deserving of respect and some disparaging comment by “talking heads” on TV leaves a nasty taste.
Admittedly Yumi’s apology was welcome but some remarks just cannot be said. The damage was done.
I recall at the time it was a huge negative issue with my friends and associates in my club. My interest in the show and some of the panelists simply vanished and maybe it did with others as well. Possibly a reincarnation with different hosts may be an answer.
You do make a good point about format – maybe their kind of content just didn’t fit that time/style? Thanks for the comments! Enjoying your thoughts!
Caring, community, cultural… sounds like the show was too leftie for the new channel 10 overlords. Expect more shows like “Breakfast” or “The Bolt report” that push right-wing opinion, and “Being Laura Bingle” or “The Shire” to replace caring, community and cultural intelligence.
I believe Mikey has hit the nail on the head. I also absolutely support the remarks made by Ethel as the issue was a very big negative in my family. The apology was given but I always felt the ladies did not really understand the community impact of the cheap shot against an officially recognised war hero.We have rarely watched the show since.
I am so sad that this show is over. I can honestly say that I feel as though I have lost dear friends today and I will miss them terribly. I think that Channel 10 have made a huge mistake in letting it go and hope that another channel will up pick it up and run with it – preferably on prime time tv. I really think it would work – especially without the infomercials.
This show was such a great platform to discover new talent, to hear what ordinary Australians are doing to make a difference. It had great music, movie and book reviewers and reminded us of the talent we have in this country. The ever changing presenters might have annoyed some loyal fans of Chrissie and Denise but it also reminded us of the great talents of Steve Vizard, Colin Lane, Denise Scott, Collette Mann, Meshel Laurie, Michaela Bannis, Liz Ellis, Jane Kennedy etc.
As you say, it’s probably targeted at stay at home Mums but I had lots of friends who were male shift workers and they loved the show. Uni students watched it, therea re people who are housebound who found it a blessed relief to have a show full of articulate, intelligent people with humour and humility. I believe it’s left a gaping hole in Australian television. The replacement programs are an absolute insult and personally I don’t think I can stomach another American daytime television program.
You know what scares me? a) that Australian daytime television no longer has an articulate, informative show that promotes our local people; the actors, writers, volunteers, inventors, musicians, dieticians, doctors, comedians, entrepreneurs, chefs, theatre shows, festivals, charities. The “Seb Terrys”, the ” Pip Lincolne’s” and the “Tim Costellos” of this country. Yes I could spend hours reading the fabulous and voluminous blogs like Mamamia to find these things out, but I don’t have the time. The Circle gave us these things while we did the ironing, etc. For people living in regional Australia where it’s not exactly the thriving cultural scene of Melbourne, we could HAVE it right there in our loungerooms.
and b) the other thing that scares me is that there are people out there who honestly relied on this show to keep them going. People suffering loss and depression who could watch this show and feel that they weren’t alone, that the girls would have a guest or a segment that would make them feel that “Hey! Things will be ok and in fact I am going to be fine if I just put one foot in front of the other.” This show honestly was a sanity saver for many people. And I feel afraid for those people. Shame on you Channel Ten. And to every person who ever graced the set of “The Circle” – thank you.
SO SO SO TRUE!! i live in Alice Springs and i suffer from depression, The Circle shone a light on life with humor wit and caring!! I feel like i have been friends with the people on The Circle for the most part of my life, and now thats gone. if they bring the show back with a different cast i will not watch it!!!