The Gray Television Show: A Guide to the Cult, and What It Means to Be an Australian Star
On the evening of April 5, 1997, comedian Jim Cosby took to his stage at Sydney’s Fox Theatre to promote his television show.
“Tonight, you’ll see the next generation of stars,” Cosby said, “stars who will be on television in the next decade.”
A few days later, he had the chance to make the same claim himself.
Cosby had signed on to be the host of a new television show in the country’s second largest city, Melbourne, a job he’d held for years.
It was a new era for Cosby, and one that would be difficult to replicate.
The country was now in the midst of a global cultural renaissance.
This meant, for Cosbys, the opportunity to showcase his talents to a whole new audience.
His new show, the Grey Television Show, would see Cosby take his audience on a trip through a series of Australian cities, all to make people laugh.
Cosbys unique style and distinctive personality would be seen on his new show.
But for many viewers, the new show would also be an opportunity to make a few bucks.
The Grey Television show was a hit in Melbourne, and with it came a lucrative TV contract.
Cosworths success came with a downside, though.
He was now on the verge of a massive debt of more than $200,000.
The show was also the catalyst for his biggest public downfall to date.
It had gone so poorly that he was forced to take a year off from performing.
This time, he returned, albeit with a much different purpose: to become a celebrity.
But as he walked away from the stage, he could see that it wasn’t over yet.
“I feel like it’s like a dream,” he said later.
“It’s a bit like going into a dream.
I have to keep going and keep on going and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Cosworth was still living at his parents’ house in Perth, a place where he could be a recluse and still make money.
The rest of the world had lost interest in him, and his TV career had taken a sudden turn for the worse.
“The Grey Television programme was the thing that finally brought the dream home to me,” he recalled.
“So I can go back to my old life.”
A new career for the famous comedian, with a new name, Aussie TV star Jim Cosworth: A story of transformation, a new beginning, and a lot of heartbreak Jim Cosbys return to Melbourne’s Fox theatre in 1997.
After three years away, he was back.
“What was happening with the Grey TV show is just fantastic,” Cosworth said.
“People were going, ‘Where are you going?’
I was going, “What?
Where are you?”
“I was still in a hotel room, I was out on the streets, I’d just finished my first TV show, and I was thinking, ‘I’ll get back in the city to make some money’.” But the Grey television show would be a long and difficult road back.
The city had been a destination for many Australians before Cosby arrived.
The town’s famous strip clubs were thriving, with many locals enjoying the lifestyle of being an entertainer.
Cosyn’s parents had relocated from Melbourne’s west to the city’s east, and Cosby’s father had started a local nightclub in the town centre.
It wasn’t long before Cosbys family, along with many other locals, began to see the benefits of a vibrant nightlife.
And it was at night, with the occasional drink or a couple of beers, that Cosbys was remembered as one of the town’s most famous performers.
“You can go out to a pub at night and see people, and you don’t know that you’re seeing someone who was famous,” Cosbys father, Michael Cosby Sr, said.
Jim Cosbin, left, and Kevin O’Neill pose at the Adelaide Theatre in 1996.
Photo: Supplied Kevin Cosby says he was always fascinated by the idea of a young boy going to work every day and performing.
“He’s doing it because he loves it,” he says.
“And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”
But that wasn’t the only reason he was drawn to the job.
“If you went to work, you didn’t know what was going to happen,” he recalls.
“That’s why I wanted to go and perform and be famous.
You’d see me out there at work, and that was when you really knew who I was.”
But there was one problem.
The contract Cosby was looking to secure with the Melbourne Fox Theatre was for two years, and so far he had failed to secure a deal with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The Grey television series would give him the chance for his dream job.
But he wasn’t alone.
The ABC had recently cancelled its television show The