Walk us through a day in the life of a Showbiz Reporter at Studio 10
When I’m covering Showbiz for Studio 10, it’s a very early start - upright and energetic way before the sparrows to scour for the hottest and most engaging entertainment stories of the day. I like to do this in conjunction with our showbiz producers. We ensure each showbiz hit is a mix of stories on celebrities who our viewers are familiar with, and we like to balance the showbiz menu, so there are not too many Debbie Downer heavy or sad stories in succession.
I also like to flavour it up with some offbeat, weird and wacky stories, always with the rider, "Believe it or not. Take this with a pinch of salt the size of Uluru!"
What are the key celebrity stories and trends that you're following at the moment?
I’m probably not your typical showbiz reporter, as I don’t slavishly follow celebrity trends... just because Kim Kardashian has a big backside, I’m not getting myself one. When I’m on showbiz duty, what’s sought are the biggest, newsiest, most compelling, and brightest entertainment stories of the day. It’s a smorgasbord, a moveable feast, and so the offerings are forever changing.
The news agenda has been dark lately, with news of the escalating conflict in Ukraine. What role do you think showbiz and celebrity journalism plays in the media at a time like this?
When the news agenda becomes disturbing and dark, as it invariably does (right now it’s the horrendous invasion of Ukraine, the recent devastating floods, previously there were bushfires, the ongoing pandemic shifts, relentless political lies and scandals), I feel that a decent dollop of showbiz news can provide a distraction.
Light-hearted and amusing showbiz gossip, presented in a non-malicious manner, has often been likened to chicken soup for the soul. Plus, we are curious beings, and hearing what is happening to others - especially the rich and famous who are perceived as privileged and powerful - their triumphs, tribulations, fortunes, misfortunes, scandals and stumbles - makes us realise we are all sharing similar situations when it’s pared down, and that no one is immune from the vagaries of life.
What does your ideal PR pitch look like?
The ideal PR pitch comes with a stunning invitation and / or a bottle of champagne! Having been a reporter since 1980, starting out at News Limited in Sydney (working for the then Daily Mirror / Daily Telegraph), I remember the glory days of champagne and stunning invitations that arrived by post. Now everything is via email. Lustre lost to a large degree for an oldie like me! The ideal PR pitch is eye catching and interesting.
What do you like the most about covering the showbiz round?
Showbiz is ever changing, and that’s what makes it so compelling and irresistible. It's a little like being glued to a guilty pleasure soap opera, but I’ve always loved and respected showbiz, and many of those who work in the biz.
What are your favourite stories you've covered in your time at Studio 10?
I love doing interviews with showbiz greats, and Studio 10 has afforded me a great opportunity. Over the decades I’ve interviewed hundreds of stars. Some of my most memorable include a TV chat with Dame Patricia Routledge in London, who was divine, and an interview with Dame Angela Lansbury at her Los Angeles home. I've also interviewed Fran Drescher, Stefanie Powers, Pat Boone, and Hayley Mills - there are way too many to mention, and the adventure continues.
Have I interviewed anyone who wasn’t nice? Tommy Lee Jones was tough, but beyond that I’ve been fortunate to have done my homework, know the subject and be appreciated for that.
Answers submitted by Craig Bennett, Showbiz Reporter at Studio 10.