New breed of TV faces to unleash Hungry Beast

Staid old TV news, current affairs, tabloid newspapers, syndicated radio, newswires and old money are about to get a knock on the head by a new television show bursting at the seams with energetic youth.

Hungry Beast is the name of a new ten-part series produced by Andrew Denton's production company, Zapruder's Other Films. For most of this year it has been scouring the land for fresh faces, new names and ideas people who can tell stories in ways we haven't seen before.

Previously titled Project NEXT, the series received 1130 applications which it trimmed down to 60 interviews.

Applicants were drilled about their knowledge of news and current affairs. They had to offer ideas for stories based on the previous week's news and then explain why they would be good stories and how they would present them. The final 19 who were selected range in age from 20 to30, and hail from cities across Australia.

The seven who will comprise the on-air team are Dan Ilic (27, from Vic), Marc Fennell (24, from NSW), Jessicah Mendes (27, from WA), Veronica Milsom (24, from Vic), Kieran Ricketts (26, from NSW), Chris Leben (20, from Vic) and Kirk Docker (28, from Vic).

The remaining 12 will work as researchers, web content producers, shooters/directors, editors and graphics experts.

The group went through an ABC crash course in TV production and hope to deliver a topical TV show, with news from a fresh angle. They've done just about everything from come up with the design to naming the show (it's a reference to media being a ferocious, devouring beast!).

Andrew Denton said, "This is both an amazing opportunity and challenge for these guys. Opportunity, in that they are being granted the resources and space to take risks, ask great questions and show us a different way of looking at the world. And challenge in that they are starting with a blank page -- creatively, nothing is scarier -- and that they will be growing up in public.

"The rewards, we hope, will be many -- not for us, but for the audience. What ABC TV has embraced here is something it has done to the viewers' benefit many times before -- think This Day Tonight, Beatbox, Race Around The World, Fly TV and The Chaser -- it has thrown open the doors to new talent and given them a serious shot at learning the ropes and making their mark. While we all want Hungry Beast to become an audience favourite, our deeper hope is that, regardless of the show's success, many in the team will go on to contribute great ideas to Australian television for years to come."

Daily content will also be added to a dedicated Hungry Beast web site.

The show will premiere at 9pm Wednesday, September 30th on ABC1.

What expectations do you have for the show? Share your comments with us below or discuss your opinion in the Hungry Beast forum now!

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