The Checkout

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The Checkout
2018 checkout logo.png
GenreConsumer affairs, comedy, satire
Written byJulian Morrow
Craig Reucassel
Kirsten Drysdale
Kate Browne
Zoe Norton Lodge
Ben Jenkins
Scott Abbot
Richard Cooke
Alex Lee
Directed byNathan Earl
Aaron Smith
Presented byJulian Morrow
Craig Reucassel
Kirsten Drysdale
Kate Browne
Zoe Norton Lodge
Ben Jenkins
Scott Abbot
Richard Cooke
Alex Lee
StarringJulian Morrow
Craig Reucassel
Kirsten Drysdale
Kate Browne
Zoe Norton Lodge
Ben Jenkins
Scott Abbot
Richard Cooke
Composer(s)Drew Crawford
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of series6
No. of episodes63 (as of 30 January 2018)
Production
Executive producer(s)Julian Morrow
Nick Murray
Producer(s)Chas Licciardello
Production location(s)Australian Broadcasting Corporation Ultimo, New South Wales
Editor(s)Andrew Glover
Dylan Behan
Kate Deegan
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Giant Dwarf Pty. Ltd.
Release
Original networkABC
Picture format576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release21 March 2013 – 17 April 2018
Chronology
Related showsThe Chaser's War on Everything
The Hamster Wheel
Hungry Beast
External links
Website
Production website

The Checkout is an Australian consumer affairs television series. The show's first series of 10 episodes premiered on 21 March 2013 on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television station ABC TV.[1] A second series consisting of 16 episodes commenced airing on 20 February 2014.[2] On 9 April 2015, a third series consisting of 12 episodes began airing.[3] The series was renewed for a fourth series, which began airing on 7 April 2016 consisting of 12 episodes. The series returned for a fifth series, airing twelve episodes between 6 April 2017 and 29 June 2017.[4][5] The Checkout, with a new look, logo, opening theme and art, still retaining original cast and segments, returned for a sixth season on 30 January 2018.[6]

In July 2018, the series was cancelled, with the ABC's head of non-scripted production citing "budget cuts and the relatively high cost of making the show" as the reason for its cancellation.[7]

Premise[edit]

The Checkout features segments that examine the practices and methods of manufacturers, retailers, service providers and advertisers. Using a humorous style, the show highlights practices that are misleading, dishonest, unfair or occasionally even illegal or unethical. Often segments will target types of services or products rather than individual brands or companies. Examples include a segment on overpriced Wi-Fi services offered in certain hotels,[8] the lack of scientific proof for the health benefits claimed by manufacturers of complementary medicines,[9][10] and the concept of peer-to-peer lending.[11]

Some segments take aim at specific brands and companies. One example was directed at Cadbury and their Joyville campaign which promoted a 10% increase (from 200gm to 220gm) in the size of the family blocks of chocolate which The Checkout portrayed as ironic given that Cadbury had previously reduced the blocks by 20% from 250gm to 200gm.[12] Another was on Anaconda Mountain Bikes which are sold as such but are actually built for road-use only.[13]

The show also includes the segment 'F U Tube' that allow viewers to upload their own queries or complaints about goods or services they have purchased. The program is associated with Choice magazine.[14]

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season final
1[15] 10 21 March 2013 30 May 2013
2[16] 16 20 February 2014 10 July 2014
3[17] 12 9 April 2015 2 July 2015
4[18] 12 7 April 2016 29 September 2016
5[19] 12 6 April 2017 29 June 2017
6[20] 12 30 January 2018 17 April 2018

Lawsuits[edit]

The ABC was sued by Avni Sali for defamation over a segment on Swisse products.[21] The ABC stood by the segment.[22] Justice David Beach refused to strike out the case, finding that it was "not without real prospects of success".[23] The matter eventually settled out of court.[24]

The ABC also faced legal action over a segment on A2 milk[25] with the a2 Milk Company claiming that the segment contains a number of "inaccuracies, misrepresentations and omissions". The A2 Milk company's case was based on the Competition and Consumer Act which does not typically apply to the ABC. However, the company argued that "advertising for the program constitutes 'engaging in commerce'."[26]

Reception[edit]

Paul McIntyre at AdNews wrote (of the show's return in 2014), "At the risk of sounding like a limpwristed leftie – and trust me I'm not – those troopers over at the ABC are onto something, once again. Every brand marketing mandarin and marcoms agency of any creed needs to wake up to themselves and ask some hard questions."[13]

Juliette Hughes at the Australian Catholic Office for broadcasting wrote (in 2013) "The Checkout retains some of the verve and righteous anger of The Chaser, indeed could almost be said to be knocking over a few of the moneychangers' tables in what passes for today's secular temples, the premises ....of revered corporations."[27]

Gordon Farrer, for The Sydney Morning Herald, wrote, "Typical bloody lefty pinko commie ABC, launching yet another assault on Things That Good People Hold Dear.....Humph. If you accept The Checkout's view of the world, marketing and advertising are industries out of control, full of charlatans, unfair restrictions on consumers, misrepresentation and outright lies about products of less-than-essential value to human existence."[28]

The school of journalism at the University of Canberra commented, "The format at times feels a little disjointed and uneven with some segments falling flat. It also becomes difficult at times to distinguish between genuine viewer generated content and fictional scenarios, thus distracting from the telling of the key information."[29]

Nominations[edit]

The Super Foods segment in an episode of the first series of The Checkout was a finalist in the 2013 Eureka Prize for Scientific Journalism. The segment investigated foods promoted as ultra-healthy.[30]

The Checkout was nominated for Best Light Entertainment Television Series at the 4th AACTA Awards, and for Most Outstanding Entertainment Program at the 2015 Logie Awards.[31][32]

DVD releases[edit]

The Complete Series 1 and 2 box set was released on 3 December 2014.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Checkout – new ABC series on consumer affairs". Consumers' Federation of Australia. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  2. ^ Knox, David (25 January 2014). "Returning: The Checkout". TV Tonight. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  3. ^ Blatchford, Emily (17 March 2015). "The Checkout returns to ABC". Inside Film. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  4. ^ Knox, David (15 March 2017). "Returning: The Checkout". TV Tonight. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Episodes - The Checkout - ABC TV". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  6. ^ "The Checkout Season 6 Episode 1".
  7. ^ Knox, David (6 July 2018). "Axed: The Checkout". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  8. ^ Kidman, Alex (1 May 2013). "ABC show searches for "the most expensive Wi-Fi"". Bit. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  9. ^ Pascoe, Michael (3 May 2013). "The Checkout is a bitter pill for some". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  10. ^ "How much do you know about complementary medicines? The new ABC program, sparks some thought on the topic". OurHealth. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  11. ^ May, Tammy (25 June 2013). "What is peer-to-peer lending?". MyBudget. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  12. ^ Boothroyd, Aoife (27 May 2013). "Cadbury defends joyville after The Checkout slams campaign". Food magazine. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  13. ^ a b McIntyre, Paul (21 February 2014). "OPINION: The Checkout just blew up marketing's new world order". AdNews. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  14. ^ "A message from our CEO". Choice. 21 Mar 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Episodes: 2013". The Checkout - ABC TV. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Episodes: 2014". The Checkout - ABC TV. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  17. ^ "Episodes: 2015". The Checkout - ABC TV. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Episodes: 2016". The Checkout - ABC TV. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Episodes: 2017". The Checkout - ABC TV. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  20. ^ "The Checkout Season 6 Episode 1".
  21. ^ Butler, Ben (2 May 2013). "ABC show defamed me, Swisse patriarch claims". The Age. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  22. ^ Ross, Annabel (3 May 2013). "ABC keeps Swisse segment online despite legal action". The Age. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  23. ^ Russell, Mark (2 August 2013). "Judge refuses to strike out Swisse defamation suit against ABC show". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  24. ^ ""A disgrace." Gruen, Checkout producer slams ABC deal with Swisse". TV Tonight. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  25. ^ A2 Milk - The Checkout
  26. ^ Chung, Frank (11 June 2015). "a2 Milk Company sues the ABC over The Checkout segment". News.com.au. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  27. ^ Film Reviews 2013 TV Review The Checkout, Game of Thrones
  28. ^ Farrer, Gordon (17 February 2014). "Thursday, February 20". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  29. ^ Penfold, Brad (16 April 2013). "The Checkout Review". NowUC. University of Canberra. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  30. ^ Lambert, Kea (11 September 2013). "2013 Australian Government Eureka Prize for Science Journalism". Australian Museum. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  31. ^ "4th AACTA Awards: full list of nominees". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  32. ^ Knox, David (22 March 2015). "Logie Awards 2015: nominations". TV Tonight. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  33. ^ "The Checkout Series 1 and 2 boxset". Roadshow Entertainment. Retrieved 21 June 2015.

External links[edit]