It’s not often I write love letters to men who are not my husband. But for Grant Denyer, I thought I’d make an exception.
You see, plenty of people in the office scoffed – loudly – when they heard Denyer had been nominated for a Gold Logie. There were predictable jokes about his diminutive size and comments about his feud with Woman’s Day. Some people said he was silly. Some said cheesy.
My feeling is most of them are just uncomfortable liking the host of a show as unashamedly populist as Family Feud.
I think people are embarrassed that a bloke like Denyer, who has only ever existed in a TV space that is cheery, full of optimism and family fun (think Sunrise, It Takes Two and Dancing with the Stars) could possibly have a shot at winning the most coveted statuette in Australian television.
Watch some of Family Feud’s funniest moments below. Post continues after video…
Certainly there was other criticism of the Logies swimming around this week after Sunday’s announcement of the 2016 nominees.
TV Week – the magazine that runs the voting for the Logies – responded by explaining the Gold Logies are earned by popular vote. That means public vote. Which is probably why ‘TV insiders’ and critics and journalists get pissed off.
A lot of these people think they know better when it comes to what people want to watch than the people themselves. They are probably the same people who criticised Channel 10 when Denyer was brought in to host the revamped game show in 2014.
Back then there were inevitable comments about Ten’s lack of imagination in reviving a ‘tired old format’. And maybe they were right. Family Feud is not ground-breaking TV drama, and it’s certainly not investigative current affairs.
But it is a format close to the hearts of the Australian population – something no number of streaming services have been able to kill off. Family friendly viewing.
Our continued thirst for family friendly TV is the reason Daryl Somers’ You’re Back in the Room – a show where people are hypnotised and then compete for money – attracted 1.15 million viewers (which is a lot) despite being roundly thrashed as the worst show on television by critics on social media.
It’s the reason my smart friend Jackie sat down as often as she could to watch a group of B grade celebs thrashing around in snake tanks and eating bugs on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
It’s the reason people sit down to watch Goggle Box and My Kitchen Rules.
They do it because it’s simple. It isn’t challenging. But it is the sort of TV you can sit down and watch with a six-year- old or a 25-year-old. It’s the sort of comforting television you can all do together.
Apologies to the critics, but in a world in which families are living more separate lives than ever before, in which four members of a family can often be watching four things separately on tablets and phones and laptops in four different room of a home – it’s a chance for people to sit together. To BE together. On the couch.
He also has no opposition to jamming out with an air guitar. (Image: Channel 10.)
Denyer has unashamedly embraced his role as a presenter of populist TV. And while he makes his constant stream of banter look easy, the sorts of show he has worked on where interaction with the public or audience members can mean writing your lines on the spot, are just about the hardest gigs on television.
I don't know Denyer personally. I don't know if he is a genuine good guy or if he shrugs on his cheery TV personality in the changing room.
But I do know he has worked as a weather man on Sunrise, he's won Dancing with the Stars and he's hosted shows such as Guiness World Record, singing competition It Takes Two and Australia's Got Talent. He hosted five years of Carols in the Domain. He is host of the Great Australian Spelling Bee.
Last night I could have been watching something smart on television. I could have been watching Game of Thrones on my laptop or House or Cards or The Walking Dead. Instead I was cuddled up on the couch with my 11-year-old watching Grant Denyer peddle like crazy to keep the gags going and the format moving on Family Feud All Stars. On the couch. Together. Old school.
He might not have been making me smarter, but he was making me a little bit better.
If that doesn't deserve a Logie - a popularity award for television based on votes from the public - I don't know what does.
Who do you think deserves the Gold Logie?