The year started with Warburton having to wield the axe and only a month or so in it struck him. New CEO Hamish McLennan has done his darndest with his revamped executive team that welcomed Adam Boland as the Director of Morning Television. It meant a spring in everyone’s step as Adam knuckled in to work on refreshing 6am-midday on Ten and quickly we learned he was going to deliver a new breakfast AND morning show. The end results – Wake Up and Studio 10 – are still in their infancy and depending on who you speak to they are bedding themselves in or not long for this televisual world. Also Walden out, Meakin in, Exelby in, Exelby out…
There’s some work to do but despite that it hasn’t been all bad news for Ten. Seriously.
Offspring S04 – Nina had found love, and in her usual way struggled to come to terms with it and all the oestrogen in her body due to the baby. When Patrick died (and thanks to a shithouse promo we can’t even say unexpectedly) every person in Australia with a uterus cried. Perfect writing and a stellar cast have made this Ten’s must watch Aussie drama (and one of it’s few high points through the week).
The Project – Carrie, Charlie & Hughesy et al continue to deliver interesting and fun conversations around News and Current Affairs that Ten sorely need. Given its head it really is an enjoyable hour of TV each night.
The Americans – 1960’s America where the Reds are under your bed and living across the road from you. An excellent new series they continued to actually fast-track from the US, and that initiative helped the audience hang around.
Elementary S01/02 – More fast-tracking success coupled with surprisingly good performances from Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. It doesn’t attempt to compete with Moffat’s Sherlock but rather offers a new and uniquely different angle on Conan-Doyle’s inimitable detective.
The Truth Is…? – Hamish Macdonald’s pet project that we all benefited from. Longer form current affairs stories told in a strong, first-person voice. Touring Macdonald around the country to promote the show to University journalism students by playing them the first episode was very smart marketing. A shame a show that was built as a half hour was cobbled together to be an hour at the last minute with little to no time for re-editing.
NCIS S10/S11 – It continues to be one of the Network’s highest rating overseas shows and woe betide anyone who decides to upset that fan base.
Mr and Mrs Murder – Thoroughly enjoyable whodunnit drama starring Shaun Micallef and Kat Stewart in 13 separate standalone stories that were just plain fun.
Recipe to Riches – Significant cross-promotion opportunities aside it was an enjoyable cooking show that offered passion and purpose as a replacement for “you’ve got 60 seconds”. Involving the audience by allowing them to purchase the products for a week helped connect though the logistics must have been a nightmare.
Revealed – Hugh Riminton’s weekly current affairs program that delivered some stunning stories in its first run. Why it was scheduled on Thursday nights is beyond me.
Ten News/Ten Late News/Ten Early Morning News – Given the oily rag this team run on got less oily at the end of 2012 it continues to deliver a solid, reliable, professional News product across the day and still owns the 5pm-6pm slot every weeknight.
The Bachelor Australia – It was that 20-odd fully grown women would throw themselves at a good looking dude and be competitive about it that made it so watchable. Tim Robards was charming enough as The Bachelor though it was Osher Gunsberg as host that charmed the camera every time he was on screen (reason enough to not have him in the finale lest he steal the show, I guess).
Sleepy Hollow – A modern-day retelling of the famous tale of Ichabod Chrane that, given the chance, will scare the pants off you. Smart move by Ten to fast-track it.
Studio 10 – Ten’s new morning program that looks more like The View than The Circle. Hosted by Sarah Harris (defected from Nine), Ita Buttrose, Jessica Rowe (defected from Seven) and Joe Hildebrand it retains a cheeky edge while doing everything a morning program should. Still some edges to round off as its ratings continue to slowly climb.
This Week Live – GOOD: Four very funny people given the chance to offer comedy to a studio audience for live TV. BAD: It didn’t get the ratings it should have, and consequently puts it in the “we don’t know if it is coming back next year” category.
Have You Been Paying Attention – A wonderful late-year entry from the Working Dog team that slipped onto our screen almost unannounced. Also getting smashed in the ratings though it was touted as a summer fill-in… and has now been announced as a part of the 2014 line-up. Relax haters, it’s just comedy.
The Living Room – Amanda Keller, Barry du Bois, Miguel Maestre & Dr Chris Brown show that lifestyle programming doesn’t have to be dull, dry and patronising.
Modern Family S05 – Ten nearly ruined this one by replaying old eps ad nauseum but season five was a welcome and long-overdue return.
American Horror Story S03 – A hidden if freaky diamond hidden away on Eleven.
TenPlay – A long overdue addition to their broadcasting suite, TenPlay is a rebadged and reasonably functional catch-up service that also acts as their live streaming portal for News & breakfast products.
MasterChef/MasterChef: The Professionals – The move to Melbourne was a big one and they got a great new set out of it. We got two series that were OK, but that’s about it. The promise to reinvent it again in 2014 may be starting to fall on deaf ears.
Under the Dome – Fast-tracked = good. An increasingly bizarre storyline that diverts too far from the Stephen King original = bad.
Wake Up – The tweaks are underway and they’re helping. It’s an enjoyable product that’s feeling the pinch (and it has a long way to go to catch up – will it get there?).
Ripper Street – Only just enough interest to maintain the facade. Ripper Street could have been great but it was always going to get thumped on Sunday nights.
Biggest Loser: Next Generation – Parents and kids compete to lose weight in a competition nine out of ten doctors have called a bad idea. Yet people still watched (probably to try to see the moment the Commando wooed Michelle). The only way this could get worse is if they involved an entire town… oh, wait…
Can of Worms S03 – It went live which was a great addition to the show though it lacked some spark. Still always good to see Chrissie Swan and Dan Ilic strut their stuff.
Before The Game – A Saturday night institution in AFL states and reasonably so. Comedy from funny people who are sports fans and want to talk footy. If only they played it BEFORE the game in other states and not hours AFTER the game on one of the other suite of channels so everyone could enjoy it too.
Reef Doctors – Apart from the jokes at how old it was before we got to see it, E01 Sun 6:30pm + E02 Fri 9:30pm + E03 & rest of season Sat 6:30pm on Eleven does not a hit make. Should have started on Saturday afternoon/early evening to have given it a chance.
Homeland S03 – Again, fast-tracking it was great, but it’s not Ten’s fault that Dana turned out to be the Jar Jar Binks of television.
Wonderland – Blunderland.
A League Of Their Own – When they cancel the season with only one episode still to air (the entire season was filmed before it hit screens) you know someone at the network wasn’t happy with it.
zeebox – A missed opportunity. What started as a promising relationship now seems to have gone the way of so many one-night stands.
Overall result: D plus. They’re still in there swinging. Just. I said last year they needed to win and that’s just not been the case in 2013 though in the latter part they announced they are refocusing (again) and are trying their best to put a good foot forward in making the Network more accessible to as many people as possible. There seems to be still no idea as to how they will overcome the audience perception that “if it’s on Ten it’s can’t be any good”… and that’s hurting. The really good thing is they keep having a go and in the process have delivered some great content despite so few having seen it.