If the Australian television industry was a poetry compilation Karl Stefanovic would be a haiku. With only 17 syllables the haiku is short in stature, basic in terms of execution and most people usually have one published by age eight. It’s an accessible form within an art form that many people find intimidating, boring or wanky.
At last night’s 2011 Logie Awards, Karl won the Logie Award for Most Popular Presenter as well as the biggest accolade of the night, the Gold Logie, as most popular personality on Australian television – and in doing so completed an unlikely Logie’s circle.
The start of this journey began in 2009 with the now legendary post-Logies coverage on The Today Show where, instead of indulging in the great Australian tradition of throwing a sickie, Karl got on live tv while visibly still gourded from the previous night’s festivities.
(There are never enough opportunities to show this footage.)
Karl maintained that he was not drunk but admitted that his behaviour was less than stellar in an on-air apology later that week and no doubt had Sunrise co-anchors Mel and Kochie rubbing their hands together in Schadenfreude at the foreseeable ratings repercussions Karl’s pie-eyed performance would reap for Channel Nine. However, it ultimately made the opposite impact on the viewing public.
So Karl got wasted at a party and turned up still-shickered at work the next day – who hasn’t?!, we thought. With that move Karl went from morning media personality to relatable tv dude.
His intermittent manic cackling, keenness for high-risk journalism and his sometimes painfully awkward absence of an inner monologue can be completely and jaw-droppingly inappropriate, but then his down-to-earth family guy vibe, the good-natured ribbing of his well matched co-anchor Lisa Wilkinson, and the sincerity and sensitivity he showed when covering a number of tragic events (Brisbane floods, Cyclone Yasi, the Christchurch earthquake and the Japanese tsunami) showed that he can get the job done too.
After last night’s awards he’s officially the most popular dude on Australian television – probably because more than anything TV Week readers and Logie’s voters aren’t focusing on the art and skill of performance. They’re just looking for someone to have a beer with.
Why bother with an overblown 30 stanza ode when a haiku can sometimes be just as nice.