Dear Mr Packer & Mr Murdoch,
You don’t know me. You’re even less likely to give a Bentley’s spare tyre what I think about televison. I mean, one of you is Australian television royalty; the other is global media royalty. It’s in your blood. I’ve watched it (&, by proxy, you both) all my life. I feel like we share a common bond, and it’s this bond that leads me to write to you.
As a dedicated free-to-air tv viewer, I was extremely excited to hear you are both investing in Australian TV AND being offered seats on the board of the Ten Network. Snatch up those seats now (I’ll happily be your proxy if you can’t make a meeting). The angry people in the cheap seats have been snarking for sometime now however it’s obvious that, like me, you see the potential in FTA TV with what can be done with digital multi-channelling. In picking a little station like the Ten Network, you’re picking up the little station that could – and with the right leadership, it can.
There’s lots of good things going on at Ch10: MasterChef is proving to be a veritable juggernaut – killer ratings, & stars falling out of itself; Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation has proven again we have the creative muscle in Australia to deliver great new formats easily exported to the rest of the world; The Circle (given more of an opportunity) has found more than a niche market in the mornings proving not all housewives want vapid, boring morning television. Signing George Negus to host ANYTHING news related was a masterstroke.
While there is much to celebrate, there’s also some things to admit need addressing. Neighbours has jumped, eaten, passed-by, overlooked, ignored, picked up, put down again, kissed, jumped again, dated, wined, dined, touched, licked, observed, blown up, guest starred, jumped one more time, blessed, killed, marinated, protested for, protested against, AND considered the shark so many times, it’s beyond over. Please don’t eat up valuable time on Eleven – just end it now. This 2 & a half hours of news idea, too, needs some work. I think you’ll agree having George Negus lead a 30min 6pm show delivering actual news, analysis & current affairs is going to be great. The “first at 5” concept for the main news bulletin is good, although at an hour it is stuggling to deliver “news”. Throwing another 30min at us at 6:30pm had better be more than that tabloid crap the others give us. I’ll leave that one with you to solve. Oh, and Offspring… put it out of its misery now, and save yourself the mess later (there’s so much other actual drama that could be funded in place of this wanna-be Thirtysomething reboot).
As for Eleven – please treat it nicely. Ch7 & Ch9 have proven with 7mate & Go! respectively that digital multi-channels, when supported & delivered properly can offer great choice. You know what to do; just make sure you do it. OneHD… there’s only so much bull riding one can take. They took away my Sci Fi night when they launched it, & those programs never returned. For shame. Although – and this may be your finest hour – noting the AFL & NRL television rights are up for grabs over the next two years will mean that at worst you’ll cost Ch7 & Ch9 A LOT of money in resigning these contracts; at best you will secure at least one, possibly both (and more). USE your HD sports channel for good and put them to work with more than delayed telecasts of the Formula One racing & UFC re-runs.
There’s so much more I could discuss with you. Like how The Simpsons (the show that built Ch10) is being treated with such contempt right now. Leading a new episode of Modern Family with a repeat (it’s just confusing). Moving Glee away from the established Thursday night timeslot. Scheduling Bondi Vet & Keeping Up With The Jonese in Glee’s place to win that timeslot definitively was a smart move, but Glee owned 7:30pm Thursdays. There’s lots of great new content overseas that you could drop in here, or even local content that deserves funding. We need some decent sketch comedy in our lives again. So much to discuss. Perhaps your people could call my people and we could set up a lunch at your favourite restaurant. My shout. I think you really need to hear what I have to say.
Please do promise us dedicated viewers one thing – you’ll only change the Ten Network for the better. Please. Don’t screw up FTA TV. Please.
Looking forward to your call,
Image sources: News Ltd; Channel 10.