Broadcaster Fran Kelly has been the topic of conversation since she landed the role of host on ABC’s new chatshow, Frankly.
Kelly departed from Radio National Breakfast after over fifteen years on air and has landed on The ABC.
The show will air on Friday nights and feature a live band, a live audience and hopefully some very good chat.
However, Kelly landing the gig has caused criticism on social media and in the media. Why? Because she isn’t young.
Culture Reporter at SMH, Thomas Mitchell, wrote a piece criticising the choice and wrote: “Perhaps it would be a 20-something comedian like Aaron Chen or Nina Oyama? What about an up-and-coming YouTuber who might go on to greatness? Dare I say it, maybe someone at the ABC could log on to TikTok and unearth Australia’s next great TV talent.
“The possibilities are … oh wait, it’s Fran Kelly.”
Mitchell wasn’t alone in his thoughts; Twitter also expressed concern that Kelly was too old for the role.
No issue with Fran Kelly per say, but would it absolutely kill the ABC to hire someone under 40 for one of these shows?
It feels like the entire cultural establishment is dominated by the same people who dominated the industry in 1990. https://t.co/oKqVD3FqGy
— John Weber (@johnweber94) August 10, 2022
One person even wrote a response to Mitchell’s article on Twitter and called it a, “missed opportunity to promote fresh talent.”
Can't help but agree with this piece. Fran Kelly is not the future of the ABC. It's a missed opportunity to promote fresh talent. https://t.co/rRdnfBs5vd
— Carl 🇺🇦🌻 👨👩👧👧 ✍🏻🎹📊📖 🏖🍷🧱💉💉💉 (@stevens_carl) August 15, 2022
While the option to pick a younger host to appeal to a younger audience is perhaps a choice by ABC, I think we need to acknowledge the sexism in this conversation about Kelly’s age.
No one is expecting Kochie to retire from Sunrise, or asking Karl Stefanovic to step away from Today, and certainly, there’s been no calls for a younger man to read Nine’s news and take over from Peter Overton.
Age only seems to be a conversation when it comes to women. Also, would it be crazy to think that Kelly, who is witty, cool and clever, might also appeal to demos outside of her age range?
Why, as a society, do we automatically assume older women are daggy or uninteresting? We certainly don’t look at men through the same lens. Look at George Clooney’s career.
Kelly taking on ABC’s Friday Chat Show could be a very cool move by the network that clearly believes that bringing freshness to a network isn’t just about being young.