In news that is certain to leave absolutely no reasonable member of the general public in any kind of suspense: the future of the annual Logies ceremony in Melbourne is now in doubt.
News emerged over the weekend that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has made what seems like a rather sensible decision in declining to continue the state’s million-dollar sponsorship of the event to keep it in Melbourne.
Given that the Logies all happens behind closed doors and isn’t accessible to any member of the general public, Andrews has decided that the value of hosting the event is negligible, and not worth the outlay of taxpayer money.
Apart from the money pumped into Crown Melbourne, where the event has been held since 1997, it’s difficult to believe the money spent on the event generates much economic activity, nor has great cultural or tourism value. In terms of promotion for the state, there’s little more than a mention that the event is “live from Melbourne” at the start of the broadcast.
Victorian Major Events Minister John Eren said the Logies were not as valuable as other major events held in the state, including large scale arts events, like the National Gallery of Victoria’s recent van Gogh exhibition.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said that the Logies were a perfect fit for that city: “It’s a tacky industry coming to a tacky city.”
But that hasn’t stopped members of the TV industry mouthing off against Andrews and lambasting the move in furious and indignant ways.
Rhonda Burchmore, a regular of the Logies red carpet, is said to be “absolutely devastated“.
According to quadruple Gold Logie winner Bert Newton, the Logies “belong in Melbourne“, and to see the event move to another state would be like “losing the AFL Grand Final or the Melbourne Cup”. However, it’s worth noting that the general public can purchase tickets to both those events, and both achieve significantly better TV ratings than the Logies.
Another Gold Logie winner Karl Stefanovic went even further on Today yesterday morning, threatening to boycott the Logies should they move away from Melbourne. He labelled the move “disgusting” and “a joke of giant proportions”.
He said: “Kevin Andrews has lost the plot completely. For $1 million, the advertising Victoria gets is second to none. You may as well have the Ekka in Perth. You may as well have the Hamilton Island race week on Fitzroy Island.”
Stefanovic actually meant Daniel Andrews, not Kevin Andrews, who is a federal Liberal MP. But his rant continued, going on to say that he would not be attending the Logies until they’re held at Crown Melbourne, the casino and hotel owned by his close friend James Packer.
It’s true that this is a break with 20 years of tradition, that those who attend the habit may be reluctant to break. But it’s impossible to see how anybody, beyond the few hundred members of the TV industry who are invited each year, will be affected at all by the move.
The level of public whining from high profile TV stars over the last few days has been absolutely extraordinary.
Does somebody like Stefanovic really think Australians are invested in where the Logies are held, or is he just trying to throw his weight around to keep the event at his mate’s hotel, where he feels particularly comfortable?
Or do TV stars just not want to have to travel to the Gold Coast or somewhere regional for the ceremony? The Queensland tourism minister has in fact signalled that there will be a bid to hold the awards ceremony on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate then said that it would be a perfect fit: “it’s a tacky industry coming to a tacky city.”
On the other hand, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she may bid for the event to be held in either Western Sydney or regional NSW. She even said NSW knows how to “put on a good party“, although if the event ends up in Sydney’s CBD, high profile TV stars may find themselves contending with her government’s lockout laws.
The Logies have always been a bit of an embarrassment for Australia’s creative industries. The glitzy event is better known for the antics of drunken celebrities than as a celebration of cultural achievement.
The most prominent awards at the Logies are essentially popularity contests. The highest honour — the Gold Logie — is awarded to the most popular personality on Australian TV.
But the Andrews Government’s decision to cut funding to the event could also be reflective of the fact that commercial broadcast TV — which still dominates the majority of categories — is continuing to diminish in influence, and the public interest in the Logies looks set to wane.