'Schapelle Corby’s TV career is a stroke of genius'
When Schapelle Corby was announced as a contestant on Seven's new Dancing With The Stars there was instant outrage.
"Won't be watching the show this year," one fan fumed on Facebook. "The show is Dancing With The Stars, not dancing with the drug mules."
And somewhere in a mahogany boardroom network executives must have been high-fiving each other.
As Oscar Wilde observed, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about and it's hard to recall many people talking about the show when it
was on Channel 10. Little wonder it got the chop.
Indeed, the question is why on earth Seven would pick up a show that had failed to fire on another network, and the answer is Schapelle Corby.
Channel 10, especially under the umbrella of the painstakingly PC US network CBS, has openly positioned itself as the home of family-friendly feel-good fun. But the problem with feel-good television is it has to make you feel extremely good - and if you really want to feel that good chances are you're not watching television.
Hence pretty much all of Ten's new family fare has failed - from Family Feud to Game of Games to Sunday Night Takeaway and of course DWTS - while its breakout hit I'm A Celebrity … only really heats up when a big controversial figure like Anthony Mundine or Bernard Tomic is in the jungle.
Ten's version of DWTS had passion and inspiration in spades - as its audience was constantly reminded - but it lacked the one thing all compelling television needs: Drama.
Seven is too smart for that and immediately made the show a vessel for the two most burning questions on Australians' minds: Can Corby do a foxtrot and does Tom Williams still have good abs?
And as for all the people declaring they won't be watching, you can bet your bottom dollar they've ensured plenty more will want to see what they're so upset about. It's also a fair bet that if you care enough about something to write a comment on Facebook you'll probably also take a sneak little peek just to remind yourself why you're so outraged.
Any publicity isn't always good publicity but this kind of publicity is as good as it gets.
Joe Hildebrand is on 2GB Nights with John Stanley on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8pm
Originally published as Schapelle Corby's TV career is a stroke of genius