'Race' for Gold Logie abandoned in the name of fairness

TV Week magazine has abandoned the "Race for Gold' campaign which precedes television's night of nights, in which contenders campaign to win the top gong.

The move will be hailed as a victory for fair play, as the race was seen as unfairly tilted in favour of those networks willing to sink marketing money and valuable air-time into aggressive campaigns in a bid for their stars to win the Gold Logie.

The "Race for Gold" phase of voting, which began with the announcement of the nominees and concluded on the night of the awards, would not feature in the 2013 Logies, the magazine said in a statement.

"Instead, the Gold Logie award winner will be determined in the same way as all the other most popular award winners, giving the public only one chance to vote," the statement said.

When the "Race for Gold" was introduced several years ago, it meant that regardless of how well a celebrity polled in the initial audience vote, the final six Gold Logie nominees — that is, those with the highest votes — were effectively reset to zero before a four-week campaigning period began.

While the race generated enormous media interest in the awards, the inadvertent side-effect was that some networks were able to sink money and air-time into backing their nominees.

Some commercial networks, which had more than one nominee, found themselves in the position of having to either split their resources, or pick only one horse to back in the race.

And in some years, while even the ABC ran strong campaigns for its talent, not all commercial networks participated in the race, leaving some personalities disadvantaged.

In the lead-up to the 2012 Logies, for example, Ten had to divide its resources between campaigns for Carrie Bickmore and Asher Keddie, and Seven's only nominee, Esther Anderson from Home and Away, was no longer on the program.

Nine ran a campaign for comedian Hamish Blake, coupled with considerable support from Blake's other employer, radio group Austereo. Blake won.

The previous year, Nine heavily backed the eventual winner — Today host Karl Stefanovic — while Seven was forced to choose between two Packed to the Rafters stars Rebecca Gibney and Jessica Marais.

In both cases the eventual winners were not likely to have been front-runners when the original audience vote was tallied.

TV Week said the decision was made following consultation with the industry and feedback from the magazine's readers and TV viewers.

"We are confident these changes will pave the way for the best possible representation and results for both the industry and public," the statement said.

Voting for the 2013 TV Week Logie Awards opens on Monday, November 26, and runs until Sunday, February 10, 2013.

The nominees will be announced in the March 11 edition of TV Week.

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