What a year for Ten. It’s well beyond the “annus horribilis” stages now, with latest reports suggesting if they don’t pick up they’ll be broke in 2 years. This while a Foxtel/Discovery Channel partnership look to buy into Ten, possibly with a controlling stake. That prediction I made when Hamish McLennan came in about it becoming Fox10 News sooner than later? Well, my timing may be off, but…
So much hope and buoyancy – Wake Up rolled through summer after some early changes (losing their EP and a re-jig of the on-air team meant they lost one of their key points of difference) and then it was cancelled while Studio 10 has rolled on, clawing viewers back from the other commercial FTA morning shows at the slowest of rates (the numbers are increasing) – plus it has a good sense of fun about the show. News is still suffering and the latest blow came earlier this week with weekend anchor Mike Munro resigning his post. Director of News Peter Meakin will indeed be a captain with no crew if this keeps up.
Looking back at 2014 it wasn’t necessarily a bad year for content – it’s just that the audiences have decided not to tune in…
American Horror Story S04 – More freaky, more good. The clown this season particularly designed to incite nightmares..
Bondi Vet S06 – Dr Chris Brown has developed into much more than a one note/vet reporter (see The Living Room below). Chris, Lisa and the BV team are consistent suppliers of great family TV that Ten can slot anywhere dependably.
Elementary S01/02 – Matured through first into second season and developed to be really good chewing gum whodunnit drama.
Have You Been Paying Attention? S02/S03 – The Working Dog team rolled with the punches and found this show’s form as an hour show on Monday nights. The regular guest roster opening many eyes to some of Australia’s newest (and very awesome) comedians, which in itself is a feat for commercial FTA.
Homeland S04 – OH. MY. GOODNESS. The Showcase team reinvented this show in the wake of Brody’s death and made it a compelling political thriller again. Full kudos to Ten for delivering this within single digit hours as it screening in the US.
Madam Secretary – It’s the lite-est West Wing possible though still enjoyable and weekly bite-sized. Tea Leoni proves she’s more than a crying journo-child on the beach.
Michael Parkinson’s Interview with Ian Thorpe – Like any Parky chat it was all class (contractual or otherwise).
Modern Family S06 – Multiple repeats of the series have turned viewers off, which is a shame as this season is sharper than ever.
NCIS S10/S11 – Reliable. Dependable. It’s everything Ten needs on Tuesday night and as the franchise expands (already into Los Angeles and this year New Orleans) its fans are rusted on in the best possible way. Ten screw with this at their peril.
Offspring S05/finale – It all wrapped up with a bow as we saw the extended Proudman family gather for another celebration at the end of season 5. Everyone was pretty much happy with their lot. Love was being shared and realised. While Ten stall and seek to resuscitate this series for ANOTHER run many fans, though desperate to see Nina back, will only realise that there’s only so much heartbreak they can handle and it likely won’t be as popular as the Network want. Leave it so the fans have pleasant thoughts of this much-loved drama, Ten.
Party Tricks – It was supposed to be the new vehicle for Asher Keddie – and the six eps we got were interesting and at least as good to watch (the brains behind this series also ran Offspring, so you do the math). People may not have tuned in and it’s entirely their loss – Kate Ballard (Keddie), David McLeod (Rodger Corser) and co offered an interesting twist to the state political scene. More of this please, Ten.
Puberty Blues S02 – Another amazing series and given they had to develop from the source material that made the first series it stood well on season one’s shoulders. The relationship drama and the somewhat innocent later 70’s collided in a great show that, if you let it, washed over you.
Secrets and Lies – Suburban Brisbane never looked so good as an incredible cast with an amazing script were, essentially, pissed against a programming wall. A stellar series that should have been treated way better. Worth hunting out the DVD series to view over summer, and look out for the US retelling of the tale in 2015 starring Ryan Philippe & Juliette Lewis.
Sochi Winter Olympics – This was a multi-channel marvel for Ten that too few appreciated. Cursed by most of the events happening early morning Australian time meant if you really wanted to know social media solved the problem (to Ten’s credit they kept this afloat too). The team on the ground did a great job with their allocated two rubber bands and a piece of string.
Studio 10 – The most important thing is that it’s still on air. It launched just over a year ago and it’s still going, building audience with each episode. The panel is a great point of difference and offers a morning “The View” style approach to discussion with four very interesting and engaging hosts and a guest panellist. God bless Studio 10 and all that sail in her (look out for EP Rob McKnight who is about to start a whole bunch of behind the scenes vignettes looking at the machine of TV – a great move from a TV tragic that can’t help himself).
The Bachelor Australia – While the second series delivered it’s own special moments (#DirtyStreetPie) it was the drama surrounding the finale and afterwards that eclipsed the show itself. Bach Blake proposes to ‘winner’ Sam in the finale and just as it’s about to air it comes out they’ve broken up. He said/she said ensued much to the delight of Ten’s PR machine. It was enough to ensure S03 of The Bachelor AND S01 of The Bachelorette Australia have been greenlit for 2015 – but we all know the real winner at the end of the day was host Osher Gunsberg’s hair.
The Living Room – Completely under-appreciated for its lifestyle content, its comedy, its heart and its hosts. Amanda Keller, Barry du Bois, Miguel Maestre & Dr Chris Brown continue to deliver a program full of lifehacks and interest on Friday nights. It’s also helped with the ascent of Chris Brown’s star (those cheekbones… WOW).
The Project – Farewell to Charlie Pickering and Dave Hughes saw Carrie Bickmore have to break in Peter Helliar and a revolving host weekly (Bickmore did it with ease, for the record). Rove McManus (his production company makes the program) returned as “guest interim temporarily permanent” host for the back end of the year and it helped steady the ship. It’s always worth checking the depth and breath of content out of this show as 5 hours of live infotain-y public affairs TV is tough and they deliver weeknightly with aplomb.
Thursday Night Sports Show – Mel McLaughlin was a coup for the Network to bring on as a part of their cricket/Sochi/overall sports coverage and her anchoring this program continued to see dividends from her signing. It also saw another excellent vehicle for the entirely undervalued Sam Mac to spread his comedic wings and entertain us all. More from both, and this show, in 2015 please.
XX Commonwealth Games – Well, it happened.
24: Live Another Day – See Jack. See Jack run and blow up stuff. Run Jack, run!
Die on Your Feet – It was fun, however most comedians can’t act and we could tell. But they’re not meant to be actors. Also, HOW YOUNG WAS EVERYONE (not Fleety’s fault it took so long to get to air…).
MasterChef Australia – Ten’s flagship is still interesting and engaging reality TV (and their only real big hope in that department). Melbourne has paid off however the formula is now so well known that audiences are picking and choosing and the consistency of the show is a little lumpy.
Recipe to Riches – Product integration was stellar. The inclusion of Russel Howcroft was excellent. The excitement of seeing someone develop their home recipe commercially was, most of the time, uninspiring.
Ripper Street – What could have been a great week to week thriller was, mostly, beige.
Scorpion – Nerds as a Special Government Task Force to solve all your terrorist-related problems. Also, it teaches you tolerance. OH THE HUMANITY.
Sleepy Hollow – It… I just… well, some people liked it The script just started to get too outta hand.
Ten News/Ten Late News/Ten Early Morning News – As I understand it the at the desk News anchors are peddling on bikes just to keep the studio lights on. In another round of cost-cutting measures the Morning News and Late News were cut. Ten News First at 5 is their last great hope. So many good people toiling so hard you just want them to succeed.
Under the Dome S02 – It’s all about the butterflies.
I Wanna Marry Harry – Nope. Nobody did.
TenPlay – It’s too buggy to really enjoy, and while sitting through ads for catch-up services is understandable seeing the same ad OVER AND OVER IN EVERY BREAK wears far too thin too quickly.
The Biggest Loser: Challenge Australia – It didn’t need to come back and yet it did. And for all the “let’s help an entire town lose weight” it all too quickly became same same and uninteresting.
The Millers – The entire cast are better than this.
Wake Up – The inevitable end result of Ten’s second breakfast show in three years given the complete lack of long-term support they offered it.
Wonderland – Blunderland didn’t get any better..
Overall result: D plus. Things haven’t gotten worse than last year, but they also haven’t gotten any better. Those that remain are working their collective arses off to deliver great programming and content. If only the market could be convinced there’s content worthy of their time and eyes. The Network wants you to “Turn on Ten” in 2015 – if 2014 is anything to go by they’ve still got a lot of work to do to encourage you to do so.