The tricks I used to get STUDIO 10 a LOGIE nomination

ROB McKNIGHT at the 2017 logies

The stars of NEIGHBOURS have been caught up in a LOGIES voting scandal after asking overseas fans to falsify personal information to bypass restrictions on who can vote, but the truth is TV networks have always looked for loopholes.

The latest LOGIES voting controversy to make headlines came after Neighbours star Colette Mann specifically advised fans overseas how they could bypass TV WEEK’s website restrictions.

According to news.com.au Mann posted on Instagram;

“I am telling all you fabulous people who love Neighbours and who do not live in Australia how to vote for the brilliant Eve Morey and Ryan Moloney for the Logies,”

“Google whitepages.com.au and pick yourself an Australian address and postcode and Vote Vote Vote and then tell all your friends and family to do the same.

The stars of Neighbours are not the only ones who’ve broken the rules over the years, according to the iconic Kerri-Anne Kennerly. Speaking on Studio 10 KAK said publicists for TV networks would fill in the voting form to make sure their stars were nominated;

“I have seen it with my very own eyes, in the '80s when social media wasn't invented, they would literally buy hundreds if not thousands of TV Weeks,”

“All the people in the office would sit in the office all night, fill out the coupons and post them in.”

While I think the Neighbours system of asking people overseas to falsify their details is a serious breach of the rules (as is network publicists filling out forms), there’s no doubt television producers are using every trick they can to secure votes… and I was no different.

In fact the tactics I used made headlines in 2017 when a reporter from The Daily Telegraph saw my team helping the studio audience cast their votes on a laptop. These were older viewers who didn’t know how to cast a vote online and have now been left behind in the age of social media campaigns.

It worked! Studio 10 received a nomination for Best News Panel or a Current Affairs Program and presenter Sarah Harris made the shortlist in the Best Presenter category in 2017, the year our tactics made news.

We would take the laptop around each day and help the audience members use the online voting form. All of their details were real and they were entitled to vote, but most of them didn’t know how to do it.

JOE HILDEBRAND, SARAH HARRIS and ROB McKNIGHT at the 2017 Logies

This is probably the biggest flaw with the new voting system - the older, traditional voters do not have a voice any more. Instead it comes down to who has the biggest fan base who are willing to throw their support behind their favourite personality. At least when SMS voting was a thing people had to use their own money.

To this day I see nothing wrong with what we did, however not all agreed.

In fact the harshest criticism came from within Channel 10. When publicity were approached by the reporter from Sydney Confidential they were furious I had used this tactic to get a nomination for the show (and Sarah Harris). I would have been happy to give a statement defending our actions but was never given the opportunity. I also found it ironic that for years leading up to 2017 I had always noticed cartons of TV WEEKs appear outside the studio every time The Living Room was recording. I thought it was quite clever and simply took things a step further by helping our audience members cast their vote.

The fact is every show has the right to use whatever tactics they see fit to get that Logie nomination, as long as its within the rules. This year both Sam Mac from Sunrise and Tom Gleeson have used the power of social media to secure unlikely nominations. Never before has the weather presenter received a Gold Logie nomination over the main hosts… but Sam Mac has run a brilliant campaign and it has paid off.

Many criticised me when I made a series of VOTE FOR KARL promos when Karl Stefanovic was nominated for the Gold Logie. We openly canvassed viewers to get behind Karl and get him the Gold. Once again I stand behind the tactic as it was within the rules.

However, publicists filling out forms or overseas voting is not within the rules and TV WEEK now faces a perception problem on how reliable the voting process is. Finding the balance between allowing campaigns and making sure the process is fair is going to be a tough balancing act.