Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding New Talent

This year, TV WEEK introduced the Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding New Talent and we’re pleased to announce that the 2006 winner is Chris Lilley (We Can Be Heroes, ABC)!

About the Graham Kennedy Award

In this 50th year of television, we believed it appropriate to acknowledge the next generation of talent coming through the ranks. We wanted to celebrate Graham's career by naming this award after the larger-than-life personality who had such a huge impact on the first 50 years of television.

Loved by four decades of Australian television viewers, Graham "Gra Gra" Kennedy's unique brand of humour saw him crowned the king of Aussie comedy. As winner of 20 TV WEEK Logies, no entertainer is as deserving of having a Logie named after them!

Graham's first foray into television was in 1957 as host of successful variety show In Melbourne Tonight (IMT), when he was just 23 years old. In 1958, Graham won the "Star Of The Year Award" -- which he later re-named the Logies after James Logie Baird, the inventor of television.

After 13 years presenting IMT, Graham briefly retired from the spotlight before returning to host The Graham Kennedy Show in 1972.

In 1977, Graham fronted the game show Blankety Blanks, which was a high point of his television career.

Following Blankety Blanks, Graham returned to television in the late 1980s with Graham Kennedy Coast To Coast, a late-night program that cleverly combined current affairs and comedy. After several years of Coast To Coast, Graham embarked on his last TV venture, Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Videos, in 1990, a show now hosted by Toni Pearen.

Throughout the years, Graham also appeared in a number of films, including Don's Party, The Club and The Killing Fields.

After several months on Funniest Home Videos, Graham retired and his health rapidly declined. As testament to his outstanding contribution to Australian television, Graham was inducted into the Logies Hall Of Fame in 1998, with Bert Newton accepting the award on his behalf. Although Graham passed away in May last year at age 71, his legend lives on in his extensive body of television and film work, and now in the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding New Talent.

So what would Graham have thought about having an award named after him?

"He'd be chuffed," says Bert. "He gave a lot of young people encouragement and opportunities in TV. It's a terrific idea!"



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