I checked in with Today Tonight last week to discover that the wink has been retired, or at least put on hiatus. Robson is a lot better for it. She still seems like your best mate's divorcee mum after a night at an over-40s nightclub, but at least shes stopped trying to grope you on the sly.
The whole thing got me thinking about the nature of TV news. Obviously, it's a personality-driven medium, so getting the right presenter is key. But being clean-cut and well-spoken is only part of it. To be truly successful the presenter has to be welcomed into viewer's homes each night like an old friend, as much a part of the household's evening as a hot meal, a chat about the day, and a domestic dispute between dinner and dessert. It's a process of ingratiation more necessary to ratings success than, say, quality content, and its something the commercial networks are well versed in.
The problem with Naomi Robson is that she doesn't appear to have much personality to begin with. Shes nice, I suppose, in a nondescript way, but "nice" is a fairly insubstantial foundation upon which to build a Gold Logie bid. So she winks and nods, and she tries to come over all caring and concerned. She tones down the giggle, ups the Mike Munro-style soft-voiced smugness...yet nothing works. Things are getting desperate for Robson. Today Tonight is a pretty awful show; if it's to survive, it needs a star bright enough to light up an entire galaxy of tabloid crap. In short, it needs Ray Martin.
What Naomi Robson should do is develop her bad girl image, provide an alternative to the goody-two-shoes suits who dominate her industry. She could easily cultivate a few choice rumours while perhaps adding substance to those already doing the rounds. Start swearing on camera, smudge her make-up, and ram a three inch nail through her bottom lip, bring a bit of industrial skank to prime time. Most important of all, Robson must let the viewing public know that here is a current affairs host who wants to be fucked harder, because that is the kind of detail not commonly put across in network promo material and is bound to create a stir. Hey, it's the only way she's going to distinguish herself from the pack, and there's no question her show's ratings would improve. And that's what it's all about, after all, so you do what you gotta do. Right?