Lisa Cannon’s ‘Spotlight’: “You get to play about and watch what you want”

by James Hendicott

Presenter and producer Lisa Cannon’s new series ‘Spotlight’ aims to take a modern route with a magazine style entertainment show, creating a series that breaks down into parts and sees the presenter – Cannon herself – share those different sections across various media, in a thoroughly modern approach to entertainment.

Cannon is a long established presenter, but is grabbing the opportunity to use the Gaiety Theatre to present a new format of show during the pandemic, and will release the results – including a series of high-profile interviews – on a week by week basis. The show will be her first under her new production house Cannonball, and will build on a long-running partnership with GlamDoll, the title sponsor.

It’s an entertainment and lifestyle online show across a lot of platforms,” Cannon explains of her new concept. “That includes Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, my own platforms, including lisacannon.ie, and the Daily Mail platforms like Evoke, Rollercoaster… It’s a bitesize entertainment show, completed in a 25 minute format from the Gaiety Theatre and then broken down into sections.”

“They’ll be sections viewable alone, like the film section, which opens with Colin Firth on his new movie Supernova, then a fashion segment with a brand called ‘My Kind of Dress’, and then a bit with a lifestyle guru with a five or six minute segment, plus some others. That means you get to play about and watch what you want. They’ll be the 25 minute show each week, but also all the different bits individually.”

“It’s the way we watch things now, this is the future, whether we’ve been pushed into it or not, most people in the course of lockdown turn to their phone, and terrestrial television as landscape has changed, as have presenters’ careers. We have to look at other avenues to stay fresh and  relevant and exciting for people.”

“It’s so special being able to connect with all the history of the Gaiety which includes performances from Pavertotti, Ray Charles, and so on.” Cannon continues, talking of the show’s hub in south Dublin.

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“We’re lucky there was a window of opportunity. I was ready to do my own producing, after a gap. I’ve been doing it for a few years, on Channel 4 and TV3, but when you’re working 9 to 5 or working on a film show, that can be put aside.”

“I’ve been caught up in that side of things, and I realised I had other things I wanted to achieve. Box Office came back for me, but the output died with cinemas through the pandemic, and I had to get creative and try new things. This was born out of that, and I think it’s a good thing.”

“We have music videos with Imelda May, time with Cat Sadler and Vince Vaugn… Lyra, the Irish singer, is coming on the show. We’re really trying to make it unique, not just some interview with a big star.”

“I was really interested to speak to the costume designer on Cruella. It’s entertainment in the broadest sense, looking at artists, creative individuals, and of course our big names, too, which will be the meat on the bones.”

“There are fantastic people out there who need a platform, so hopefully we can provide that. We need the sponsorship, too, of course, but that’s just part of it. It’s aimed at anyone from the late 20s to early 50s, but of course anyone who’s interested, too.”

Spotlight’s opening episode is out now, and can be watched at lisacannon.ie

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