When a tearful Grant Denyer accepted his TV WEEK Gold Logie Award in 2018 with an emotional speech, Tom Gleeson beamed with pride. The self-appointed #Denyer4Gold campaign manager had scored a victory too and was more than happy to bask in the glory along with the TV presenter.
But a new year brings new goals. Tom, 45, tells TV WEEK why he's ready to hog the spotlight and earn his very own coveted statuette.
You announced the end of Hard Quiz, yet are still holding auditions. What game are you playing at?
I'm playing a really big game! [Laughs] Last year, Denyer won the Gold when he didn't have a show, so I thought the only way to win is to not have a show, so I've axed myself. As soon as I win, I'll un-axe the show. That's my plan.
How's that working for you so far?
My problem is that I'm the favourite, according to some betting websites. And the thing is, with the [2019 federal] election, I realised that sometimes the favourite doesn't win. So to stop the ABC voters from becoming complacent, I'm holding my show hostage: if they still want the show, they have to vote!
So you are following in Grant Denyer's footsteps?
Well, I think he owes me a lot. He hasn't bought me lunch or anything. He said "Thank you" briefly afterwards. I haven't seen him since. [Laughs]
Have you ever wanted someone to win Gold – aside from Grant?
Well, this is the thing. I always feel like comedy gets a bit dudded by the Logies. There was a year I was watching keenly – it was 2010, if I remember correctly – and there was Shaun Micallef, Wil Anderson, Adam Hills, Rove and Paul McDermott: a lot of comedians up for the Gold. That was probably the first time I thought it might be within reach. And then Home And Away's Ray Meagher won.
So if you take the Gold this year, are you out to achieve that elusive goal?
Yes. I'm looking for justice.
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Horror of horrors, what if you don't win the Gold Logie?
I'll walk straight up, take it from whoever's holding it and bludgeon them to death! [Laughs] No, winning is nice – obviously, I deserve it and should win because I'm very popular – but I don't know. I'm pretty easy; I can shrug off a loss pretty quickly. I'm like the Sydney Swans: I'm sort of used to winning and then losing a game.