Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Note to Ten: Quit while you’re ahead – Wednesday 29 October 2008

How Ten must pine for the glory days, back in 1995 their Wednesday Line up was a sight to behold, The Simpsons, The Nanny, The X Files, NYPD Blue, all big raters. They were the first network to really open up Wednesdays in 95 by scheduling shows (rather than movies) after 8.30pm. The other networks were quick to follow suit and all have owned the night at one point or another.

After Ten dominated early with The X Files, Seven brought Wednesdays under control with Blue Heelers, a mega popular country cop drama which used to command rating which would make any current TV number cruncher weep.

Nine took control of the night in the early part of this decade with CSI Miami and Without a Trace, until Ten wrested control again with the medical drama House.

Now the pendulum has swung back to Seven with the FBI Profiler procedural (vastly superior to that boring 90’s series “Profiler”) Criminal Minds dominating the night since the second half of this year.

Nine is making a play for a comeback – already in charge of the 7.30 hour with the sitcom Two and a Half Men their gamble of moving The Mentalist to Wednesday had a nice payoff last night with the show scoring over the million mark, while still third in the timeslot behind Seven and ABC – it’s a respectable third.

Less respectable is Ten’s entire night, rather than being assisted by it’s lead in Jamie’s Ministry of Food lost 149,000 viewers week on week, by contrast Two and a Half Men attracted an extra 128,000 people. Seven’s Crash Scene Investigators remained similar to CIU the previous week, although Medical Emergency remains more popular than either road accident doco.

House got a slight lift week on week, but then so did The Mentalist, the better news for Ten was with Life which lifted by 75,000 people week on week, most of those viewers came from CSI New York which dropped 73,000 people.

The low performance of everything at 9.30 highlights a problem. All three competing shows are by and large very similar shows, all involve cops, 2 of them are procedurals whereas Life is a procedural/serial and on a more basic level, all three are scripted adult dramas – there is only so much audience to go around for this stuff and if networks put it all up against each other then people have to choose.

Contrast this embarrassment of riches with a weekend lineup where virtually nothing is on and yet Monday thru Wednesday the networks are throwing shows at us but not really giving many alternatives.

Meanwhile Ten, if it continues with new episodes of House at 8.30 will have expended 10 or 11 episodes of a popular series for virtually no reason, the network is in a funk brought on by Big Brother and a rash of bad programming decisions since, nothing is going to break them out of that funk before summer – they need some clear air and the tail end of a season is not going to give it to them, better to put House into reruns than waste expensive new episodes which nobody is watching.

No comments: