“Where was this when we were growing up?” is what I messaged Melissa Leong when I learnt about Dinner Guest – one of six new local pilots selected for Channel 10’s pilot showcase.
The MasterChef Australia judge is one of three hosts of this panel interview show that Australia’s never seen before, but has so desperately needed. As the brainchild of Studio10 newsreader and Whadjuk Nyoongar woman, Narelda Jacobs, the show features Narelda, Melissa and Susan Carland joined by a guest for a no-holds-barred discussion around the dinner table about the biggest topics people are talking about.
Circling back to what I had asked Melissa, it should all make a lot of sense now. Here’s an Indigenous woman, an Asian Australian woman and a hijab-wearing Muslim woman fronting a show on mainstream television, and all I can do is reiterate, “Where was this when we were growing up?”
“That’s a good question, but it’s a question I hope little kids won’t have to ask any longer,” Melissa replied to me.
I’ve previously spoken about my own experience growing up in the ’90s as the daughter of Fijian Indian immigrants, struggling to see people who looked like me on TV. But as Melissa said, a show like Dinner Guest will give the next generation the representation we didn’t get to see and that they truly deserve to.
“It’s smart, sassy, sensitive & compassionate featuring only voices from marginalised communities… & on a commercial network???!!!” Narelda wrote on her Instagram account.
It’s a “talk show, driven by intelligent, under-represented women, sharing opinions that have rarely been heard, let alone celebrated, on mainstream Australian television” Melissa explained on her page.
The pilot 30-minute episode, featuring guest Patricia Karvelas, will premiere on Monday, July 4 on 10 Play. Have a read through the incredible announcement posts shared by the hosts below: