Interview - Lewis O'Flynn

Interview: Lewis O'Flynn, Director of Showcase Management - creator of Hottest On TV - 13th July 2004

Virgin Casino

We all hear and see a multitude of dynamic media and entertainment concepts, in this mass media world we live in. Once in a while, something or someone comes along, that sets things on fire.

Hottest On TV and it's founder, Lewis O'Flynn, has the potential to make a real and positive difference to the Australian media and entertainment world, using both new age and traditional concepts.

Sit back and relax, and enjoy this insightful, educational and entertaining interview with Lewis O'Flynn.

What's your background?

LOF: The highlights of my professional career to date have been my involvement in the management of various sporting and major events in Victoria. I love playing sport and importantly building the friendships and associations that you do through sport.

What is "Hottest On TV"?

LOF: Hottest on TV is fast becoming the central place for all things related to Australian television.

However the flagship is the "Official Rankings", which is a monthly ranking system of the Australian television industry's hottest celebrities.

Judges, consisting of industry experts and the wide audience of television viewers and internet users vote monthly on who are the hottest, most popular and appealing Australian actors, presenters, reporters and panellists on television. Both male and female celebrities are judged, with the final list of Official Rankings distributed to all major media outlets on a monthly basis. The general public go to the website,, and view the lists, photos and profiles of over 400 people who make up the Australian talent that we currently see on television. Each month visitors then vote for who they think are the hottest. We're going to see the results change as different shows come and go, certain personalities fade in and out of the public eye and their level of popularity changes all the time along with public opinion, so we can expect to see variation in the lists every month.

Everybody will judge the "hottest" differently. The public have their own criteria and this is going to throw up some interesting names from time to time.

How did you come up with the idea?

LOF: I was sitting in a pub one Sunday afternoon when I became involved in a friendly discussion about with some friends as to who was the 'hottest' of all the current newsreaders. Everybody had their own opinions and nobody was willing to settle for each others submission as the hottest newsreader on TV. As the discussion carried on it became obvious that there needed to be outlet whereby the wide opinion of all television viewers could be taken to find out who really is the hottest newsreader on television.

So why stop there. Let's find out who everybody thinks are the hottest Australian celebrities on all of our own locally produced television.

Why is Hottest On TV so much more than just a website?

LOF: What excites me is the enormous potential for Hottest on TV. OK, so the website is already the most comprehensive list of Australian TV personalities that anybody will find in one place, and has more photos, profiles and up-to-date TV news than any other website. But we are going to see Hottest on TV become an institution in the Australian TV industry. The Official Rankings are going to give TV networks some of the best data available when they are considering the most popular talent available to appear on their programs. Budding Australian talent suddenly have the perfect vehicle to promote themselves and get their faces in front of decision makers, sponsors and the audience at large.

Even those well established actors, hosts, panellists etc, who wouldn't want to be voted the Hottest on TV.

Who are some of your biggest supporters?

LOF: In reality, it's the thousands of people who have visited and keep returning to the website, and that have submitted emails, who are genuinely excited about the prospect of being able to vote for their favourite Aussie TV celebrities.

Every month we've got thousands of people visiting the site, and in the period that we've been building the Voting feature we've been inundated with people eager to cast their votes. That's a fantastic result because at the end of the day, Hottest on TV becomes successful by the sheer weight of traffic to the website and popularity of the project across Australia.

How do you motivate the masses to vote?

LOF: We are already finding that web users are 'busting down the door' to submit their votes.

I think it's in the psyche of Australian's that if there is something they like, and if they think they can influence it's existence by voting for it, then they will do so. And why wouldn't you want to ensure that some of the beautiful faces on our TV screen remain by voting for them each month.

Or support the up and coming talent by selecting them as the Hottest on TV, and have a real influence on what we see on our television screens. Oh, and of course there will be random monthly prizes for those that come back and vote.

Whether it's TV's, VCR's, Game Console's, Computer equipment or even fashion, there is the chance of getting something for nothing that always entices back the masses. In fact this is also one of the best opportunities for Sponsors to get involved in Hottest on TV, by including their products as giveaways each month and getting their brand name in front of one of the most discerning markets.

How many faces from Australian TV do you cover?

LOF: Hottest on TV features over 400 names and faces covering just about all the Australian talent that is on currently produced Australian programs. Hottest on TV has far and away the most comprehensive listing of Australian TV celebrities anywhere on the internet. There is the benefit of finding all your favourite celebrities in the one place. Why go to different programs website, different networks website and various fansites to find all the information you are after, when it is all here in one spot. But nothing is perfect. We want to hear from the public, networks and agents if we've missed somebody who should be added to the site, and as long as that person meets our criteria (an Aussie on a program currently produced in Australia) we'll add them to the site.

We also take a lot pride in the fact that the site features only Australian talent. As our TV screens continue to be invaded by international content, we need to support the local industry and Hottest
on TV supports it like no other.

How many hits and impressions per month does your website attract?

LOF: Before the Voting Feature even went on-line we were getting over 60,000 individual page requests per month. I'm always sceptical when website hosts start proclaiming the success of their site and announce the enormous number 'hits' they are getting. If we want to talk hits then Hottest on TV receives over 1.2 million per month but I don't believe that this measure adopted by so many other hosts is particularly accurate so I always suggest the public take caution when trying to digest website statistics.

Why do TV executives, producers and decision makes need to pay attention to the information Hottest On TV provides?

LOF: The more Hottest on TV grows, the greater the influence it is going to have on what we see on our television screens. To date, what tools do TV execs have that tells them how popular their on-air talent is.

The Oztam ratings tell them how popular the show is, but when Home and Away brings in a new cast member, what is the accurate indicator that tells the Executives how popular or 'hot' that cast member is?

How does Channel 9 know when the appeal of a cast member of McLeod's Daughters is fading? When the latest reality show is looking for a new host, why should networks take a punt and use only anecdotal evidence?

Hottest on TV is the real deal. It tells networks who the public want to see more of and who are their favourites, allowing them to make informed decisions, which leads to increased ratings and more advertising dollars coming in.

What are the sort of factors which can make a celebrity go from "Hot" to "Cold"?

LOF: There are so many possible answers to this question but I'll just try to give my perspective.

Some celebrities will last the test of time. Sandra Sully and Rove McManus have been on our screens for some time now and have managed to remain ever popular with the viewers. But other celebrities come and go, sometimes helped along by the success, or hindered by the failure of the show they appear on.

Often a celebrities personality comes across in their performance and this can strike a chord with the viewers. But sometimes celebrities might begin to appear to press for all the wrong reasons, and their public appeal turns sour.

Sometimes we tire form seeing the same old face hosting the same old show, but on other occasions the viewers can't get enough and cry out for more of their favourite celebrities. There are so many factors that can influence a celebrities popularity.

Do publicists, agents and the like ever try to influence you and the voting?

LOF: Why wouldn't they?

The outcome of the Voting could be make or break for their talent and the ultimate promotion for particular programs and celebrities. But at the same time, Hottest on TV is a far more valuable tool for networks and agents if they are obtaining a true indication of what the public and the TV industry really think of their talent.

The best way to 'fairly' influence the public vote is to support Hottest on TV by providing the most up to date photos and profiles of their talent to be added to the website. This can go a long way to influence the vote of the public as the end of each month nears.

What safeguards have you got in place in the voting system?

LOF: Hottest on TV is built on integrity and respect for all members of the Australian TV industry.

We don't aim to hurt careers or force talent to suffer which is why we only publish the list of the Hottest celebrities, not those at the bottom of the list.

We are out to promote Australian television and it's talent and we ensure that anybody who has managed to earn their place as an industry judge comes in with credentials that are unbiased towards particular networks and talent. And what makes this voting system, we believe, to be the most fair and equitable in the entertainment industry, is that we take the opinions of the industry experts and the public at large to compile a fair sample that reviews the Australian TV celebrities.

Has anyone attempted to "buy you out" or "buy you off" yet?

LOF: In the whole scheme of things, it's too early to be 'bought out' just yet.

The value of the Hottest on TV property is going to grow enormously over the next few years so if an astute business-person wants Hottest on TV to be theirs, they would need to be very shrewd to beat the rush when Hottest on TV starts to close in on reaching it's potential.

To you, what is success?

LOF: Success is to be able to spend your life doing what you enjoy while having the important people in your life around you as much as possible. If you're not sharing the highs and lows of your life with the people you love then you are wasting your experiences.

What do you do to relax?

LOF: What would you expect, I watch TV of course.

When you will know when Hottest On TV has reached it's potential?

LOF: I don't want to give too much away. I think there are some great spin-off opportunities that will appear once Hottest on TV grows to a certain level. I'm envisaging annual TV specials, "The Hottest on TV Year in Review", merchandise, celebrity A-list parties and awards nights. When the Logies becomes the second biggest night on the Aussie TV social calendar, that's when potential is close to being reached. When Hottest on TV cracks the competitive magazine market you also know we're closing in on the peak.

As an Australian television institution, there also is the opportunity for international growth. The blueprint will be there for other countries to build up their own Hottest on TV support their own local industries, but let's just worry about conquering Australia for the moment.


Wow. All that's left to say is log on and stay tuned!

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Hottest On TV


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When You're Hot You're Hot, by Greg Tingle

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Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association

Free TV Australia

TV Week

TV Week - Logie Awards

Media Man Australia

Sponsorships, Clients & Affiliates

TV & Radio websites