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Thank_God_You're_Here

Thank God You're Here

Thank God You're Here was a Logie Award-winning Australian television improvised comedy program created by Working Dog Productions, which premiered in Australia on Network Ten on 5 April 2006, and aired for three seasons with the final episode airing on 26 September 2007. Each episode involved celebrities walking through a door into an unknown situation, greeted by the line "Thank God you're here". They then had to improvise their way through the scene. At the end of each episode a winner was announced. It was the most successful new show in Australia of 2006, attracting an average of 1.7 million viewers after the first few episodes.

The show was hosted by Shane Bourne, who in the past had worked on programs such as the Australian TV variety show Hey Hey It's Saturday, and is judged by Tom Gleisner, who in the past has hosted both The Late Show and The Panel. The format was sold for recreation in a number of countries, notably in the United States, where the U.S. version began airing on 9 April 2007.

Synopsis

Each contestant is dressed in appropriate costume, has some brief banter with the host, and is then invited to "walk through the blue door" onto a hidden set. They are greeted by the ensemble cast, in character, with the line "Thank God you're here!", and must then attempt to improvise their role in the scene. Typically they will be asked in-character questions by the ensemble cast and challenged to provide information about the scene, including the names of characters or objects. The format is a variation on the established improvisational game "Occupation Endowments". In the traditional improv version, one performer enters a scenario she or he knows nothing about and is endowed with an occupation by the other improvisers. The first performer attempts to guess their occupation while playing the scene.

At least twice during each episode (to cover set-up and costuming for the live audience), footage is shown of each of the four participants performing a challenge, often on location, which was filmed earlier in the week. These include a commentary booth where the contestants have to comment on an unfamiliar subject, an office where they are being interviewed or interrogated (by police, customs officials, etc), showing customers things for sale (cars, boats, pianos, houses, etc), or advertisements (e.g. slimming products, housing developments, etc). The other characters in these scenes are generally played by members of the ensemble cast. The third series also introduced an additional segment in which Gleisner highlights a "real life" Thank God You're Here-style situation, such as the infamous Guy Goma BBC interview and frequently, that of politicians forced to improvise answers under pressure.

Finally, when all the contestants have played in a scene by themselves, all four enter a final scene together for the "all-in group challenge". At the end of the show, the judge declares a winner; this choice is entirely at the judge's discretion, and is largely arbitrary. Honorable and dishonorable mentions are also given, usually to contestants who do not win so that the judge can comment on their performances. The winner receives a trophy in the shape of the program's blue door logo.

There are variations on the standard setup: occasionally the greeting will be slightly changed to better suit the setting (i.e. "Thank the gods you're here!" for a scene featuring Vikings or "Thank God you're alive" in a scene featuring a car accident), and often an alternative entrance will be built into the set. These are often used for comic effect, as in one scenario where the contestant climbed through the back of the set and emerged from the door of a wrecked car embedded in the wall of a second-story flat.

Ensemble cast

Though their parts are thoroughly scripted, the actors who interact with the guest stars in each scenario are drawn from an ensemble of experienced improvisational actors.

Improvisation experience is preferred so that the cast can react appropriately and immediately to the improvisations of the guest stars, though in most cases this improvisation is limited. This ensemble is also used in many of the assignments, fulfilling the roles of customers or members of the public with whom the guests must interact in a real-life setting.

The following are regular ensemble cast members who have appeared or currently appear on the show (all have been the ensemble cast since the beginning, unless noted).

Several special guests have also appeared as one-time ensemble cast members. Special guests have included Dan O'Connor, Kimberley Davies, Natalie Bassingthwaite, Mark Holden, Kate Ceberano, The Veronicas, Mick Molloy, Nikki Webster and Alan Fletcher to name a few. Other guests including Don Burke and Suzie Wilks have appeared as mock presenters in the locational challenges.

Guest stars

The following have appeared on the show as guest stars or contestants in at least one episode. In alphabetical order:

Episode guide

Season Ep # Season Premiere Season Finale
Season 1 10 5 April 2006 7 June 2006
Season 2 10 6 September 2006 8 November 2006
Season 3 11 11 July 2007 26 September 2007

Production and broadcast schedule

The show is filmed at Global Television Studios in Forest Hill (a suburb in the outskirts of Melbourne) which are rented by ATV-10.

The second series of the show ran from 6 September to 8 November 2006, at a 7:30pm AEST timeslot. The ratings for the second season place the show in the top three shows watched in Australia boosting the ratings of follow-up show House on the network and placing the show up with ratings juggernaut Border Security: Australia's Front Line which broadcasts on the Seven Network. Thank God You're Here received an average of two million viewers every week.

For the last episode of 2006 (8 November), had received ratings of 1.85 million viewers nationally.

The final episode of Season One, in which the actor Angus Sampson won, had 2.13 million viewers nationally.

The first episode of Series Three was filmed on 21 June 2007. Guests for this episode included Stephen Curry, Josh Lawson, Peter Helliar and Cal Wilson. Series Three had begun at the same 7:30pm time slot on Wednesday 11 July 2007.

Music

The main theme is "Come Anytime" (June, 1989) by Sydney based rock band, Hoodoo Gurus. A piece used throughout the interludes of the first Season of the show is "Don't You Know Who I Am", performed by Small Mercies.

In the second season, new music was also used in addition to the main themes:

In the third season, more new music was used in addition to the main themes:

DVD releases

Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of the show have been released on DVD in Australia. There are currently no plans to release the DVDs in other countries. Season 1 was released on 8 November 2006, Season 2 was released on 23 August 2007 and Season 3 was released on 28 November 2007.
Thank God You're Here - The Complete Series One
Set Details Special Features

  • 10 Episodes
  • 51 Scenarios
  • 3 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • English audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1)

  • Behind the scenes documentary
  • Unscreened highlights
  • Vintage Frank Woodley performance from the pilot
  • Hard copy Thank God You're Here game built into the DVD cover

Release Dates
Region 4
8 November 2006

Thank God You're Here - The Complete Series Two
Set Details Special Features

  • 10 Episodes
  • 51 Scenarios
  • 3 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1) & English narration for the sight impaired.

No Special Features are included.
Release Dates
Region 4
23 August 2007

Thank God You're Here - The Complete Series Three
Set Details Special Features

  • 11 Episodes
  • 55 Scenarios
  • 3 Disc Set
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired
  • English audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1)

No Special Features are included.
Release Dates
Region 4
28 November 2007

Awards

  • Most Outstanding Comedy Program Logie, 2007

Show promotion

Host Shane Bourne and Judge Tom Gleisner appeared on Rove Live on 11 April 2006, to promote the show after the first episode had screened. After an interview with Rove McManus, they participated in a game McManus called Where The Bloody Hell Have You Been, a play on words of the Australian tourism campaign, So Where The Bloody Hell Are You?. In this game they had to perform, without preparation, a situation involving a funeral, and the reading of an improvised eulogy, following exactly the same format as Thank God You're Here.

Distribution

The format has been sold to FremantleMedia for worldwide distribution and has subsequently been sold for creation in 13 countries including Belgium, Canada (Quebec), Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and the United States. International versions are required to use the same sketch premises used on the original Australian version and if one wants to alter one of their episodes in some way, such as taping a Christmas-themed episode, they must go through FremantleMedia for permission to do so.

Country Name Host Channel Language Premiere Website Judge
Thank God You're Here Shane Bourne Network Ten English 5 April 2006 Link Tom Gleisner
GodzijDank Matthias Coppens vtm Dutch 16 March 2007 Link
Dieu merci! Éric Salvail TVA French 27 September 2007 Link Gaston Lepage
Konečně jsi tady Josef Carda TV Prima Czech 4 March 2007 Link
Gu' ske lov du kom Mads Vangsø TV3 Danish 30 September 2006 Link Sebastian Dorset and Hella Joof
Jumal tänatud, et sa siin oled! Andrus Vaarik Kanal 2 Estonian 6 October 2007 Eino Baskin
Gott sei Dank ... dass Sie da sind! Knacki Deuser ProSieben German 30 November 2006 Link
Akhirnya Datang Juga Winky Wiryawan Trans TV Indonesian 21 October 2007 Link Didi Petet
Tov Shebata Moni Moshonov Arutz 10 Hebrew 5 June 2007 Tomer Sharon
Ačiū Dievui, atėjai Egidijus Sipavičius TV3 Lithuanian 1 September 2007 Arkadijus Vinokuras
Gelukkig Je Bent Er Carlo Boszhard RTL 4 Dutch September 2006 Link
Thank God You're Here Shane Bourne TV2 English July 2007 Link Tom Gleisner
Ainda Bem Que Apareceste Virgílio Castelo RTP1 Portuguese October 2008 Link Nilton
Слава Богу, Ты Пришел! Mikhail Shats STS Russian 24 September 2006 Link Alexander Tsekalo
Por Fin Has Llegado Josema Yuste TVE1 Spanish 14 September 2007 Link David Fernandez
Tack Gode Gud David Hellenius TV4 Swedish 21 March 2007 Link
Thank God You're Here Paul Merton ITV English 12 January 2008 Link
Thank God You're Here David Alan Grier NBC English 9 April 2007 Link Dave Foley

  • The Czech version of the show, "Konečně jsi tady" was first aired on TV Prima on 4 March 2007. The show was later put on hold to change it to better suit the Czech viewers.
  • The Dutch version, "Gelukkig Je Bent Er" broadcast its first episode on RTL 4 in late September 2006, followed by "Gu' ske lov du kom" on Danish TV3 a few days later.
  • The German version, "Gott sei Dank... dass Sie da sind!", piloted in July 2006, premiered on 30 November 2006, in primetime on German channel ProSieben, produced by local Fremantle daughter Grundy LE, but managed only to attract a small audience. It was cancelled after 6 episodes.
  • The Russian version of the show, "Slava Bogu, Ty Prishel" was first aired on STS channel on 24 September 2006.
  • The Swedish version, "Tack gode Gud" was first aired on TV4 on 21 March 2007. It follows the same format as the Australian version and regularly uses similar scenarios.
  • The U.S. version was picked up by NBC after a pilot was shot on 9 November 2006, overseen by Rob Sitch, who flew to Los Angeles. It was hosted by American actor and comedian David Alan Grier and judged by Canadian actor and comedian Dave Foley. The program premiered on 9 April 2007 with two back-to-back episodes (including the pilot). It followed the Australian format closely, with the additional quirks of the guests swearing they had not seen the sets or costumes at the start of the show, and host Grier appearing in a cameo for one scenario each episode. Though it managed to attract some fairly high-profile guests, including Tom Green, Fran Drescher and Wayne Knight (who appeared twice), NBC announced it had cancelled the show after just seven episodes on 14 May 2007.
  • The UK version premiered on 12 January 2008 on ITV. The show was made by talkbackTHAMES, a FremantleMedia company. Paul Merton was both the host and also featured in his own scenes. Hamish Blake has appeared on the first two episodes of Season 1.

References

External links

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