Fresh faces star in Ten's first sketch show in 12 years
Sketch comedy is making a comeback on Australian free-to-air television.
Viewers will get to have their say on Skit Happens, Channel 10's first sketch comedy series in 12 years, when it kicks off the network's experimental new Pilot Week.
From tomorrow, pilot episodes for new local shows will premiere each night.
Audience reaction, social buzz and ratings will help decide what shows will return to our screens for full seasons next year.
"It's a cool way to do television," Jenna Owen tells Weekend.
"I've been through the pitching process with my own pilots, so I've been in the waiting game on the other side as a writer but never as an actor before.
"It's a really great idea to put it in the hands of the public. What's TV for if not for the public? We're not answering to people in a boardroom but our Australian audiences. It's an extra motivation to care about the thing you're doing and what it's saying."
Jenna is one of seven rising Aussie comedy talents who will star in Skit Happens.
"We all do live performances, and we all know how ground-breaking some of this character stuff is that you see in a live context," she says. "
You're in the room thinking 'Where are the TV execs now?' You'll be watching these crazy characters reminiscent of what Magda (Szubanski) used to do on Fast Forward. It's exciting to have something that can take something happening in live spaces and put it on commercial television. We're taking these performances out of dingy rooms and putting them on screens."
Ten's initial Pilot Week announcement drew criticism for its line-up of white male hosts. As one of three women starring on Skit Happens, Jenna says there's more diversity initial reports suggested.
"It was frustrating for our cast to have Heath (Franklin) put forward as the leading man in our cast because that's not how we operated on set," she says. "It's a completely ensemble cast. There's no person who appeared in more sketches than anyone else.
"We all had the exactly same amount of screen time and agency in the room. It was a bit confusing for us to be lumped in with the analysis of the other shows and it wasn't my experience on this set."
Skit Happens airs tomorrow at 8pm on Channel 10.