07 May, 2012

Q and A and the Tim Robbins Rule

When Al Franken had a daily 3-hour radio show on the Air America network they had a rule on the program called the Tim Robbins Rule.  Basically, this meant that any guest who came on the show could only be there to talk about what they do.  That is, political analysis would come from politicians or commentators and if ever an actor came on the show (like Tim Robbins, for instance), then he would be there to talk about movies and not any political barrow he may be pushing.  In 2012, this might be renamed the George Clooney Rule, although it’s not as alliterative.

Q and A needs to consider a rule like this.  In some ways, Q and A is turning into The Panel, featuring people who are well known for other reasons talking about things they don’t know about.  I am sure Kate Miller-Heidke is a nice, thoughtful person but I don’t think she’s going to get many questions about her musical influences or what equipment she uses.  Mind you, I’d be very interested to hear the answers to those questions, but it wouldn’t make for the kind of verbal punch-up that Q and A regularly spoils for.
I wouldn’t want to see Graham Richardson programming Rage either.

I did not intend this to be bagging Kate Miller-Heidke.  She has written about her experiences HERE and it seems to have been a bungle on the part of producers, managers and publicists.  Gee, who knew they'd be talking about the budget this week?
I certainly feel for Kate and the fact that with all of the so-called music programs on air at the moment, the fact that a professional singer-songwriter has to go on Q and A to perform her original work says very bad things about Australian television.


  1. I mostly agree with you but I must say that when Kate commented about home loans and how she and her friends could not even think of buying a home so anything to do with loans was completely irrelevant...I applauded her. I thought finally, someone like me.
    This got me thinking about the QandA panel. Wouldn't it be interesting if each week, instead of an irrelevant celebrity, they included a random, unknown person to represent those who have little or no influence when it comes to media and politics and get their views.
    Just a thought!

    1. That should be what the studio audience is there for, before it was branch-stacked by party operatives.

      I must admit I didn't watch. Dirk Gently was on ABC2 at the same time. Credit to her for making that point.

  2. Yeah, no "Richo's Rage". I COULD see him hosting "what's up Doc?" though.

  3. I can see why a Saturday Night Live writer talking about politics would not want an actor to talk about politics.

    1. I see your point but in fairness to Franken, political commentary was his main act by then. I also respect him for putting his policies to the people by standing for office. If you're going to bang on every day about how things ought to be, you should eventually do the democratic thing. Let's see Limbaugh try that.