The rumour mill ran hot overnight after word spread across social media networks that the entire Ten Breakfast team have been called into an emergency team meeting this morning (Monday 30 July) at 10am. Is the show to be axed (and will it see the week out)? Is there an announcement of a revamp with a new Executive Producer?
It’s been a rocky road for the six month old program. In the last 30 days alone it’s lost one of it’s founding hosts in Andrew Rochford and Executive Producer Majella Wiemers, along with two senior producers, and word of growing discontent with the remaining team. Insiders point the finger at host Paul Henry as being the source of the trouble by being demanding and divisive; others blame a lack of leadership and a clear brief for the production team. The program has been dogged by speculation as to it’s future for months due to the consistently low ratings it has delivered to Channel 10, who lauded the program at its launch as a ‘fresh alternative at breakfast’.
While competitors Ch7’s Sunrise and Ch9’s The Today Show regularly rate above 300,000 viewers averaged across their morning programs, Breakfast has struggled to maintain an average above 35,000. These low figures, coupled with whispers of creative tension between the program’s leadership and the network, have only fuelled calls by the public & some media outlets to ‘put the show (and viewers) out of it’s misery’.
It would be a sad end to a difficult experiment for Channel 10 if they did choose to cancel Breakfast. Building a new program delivering 15 hours of live television a week is no mean feat, and given the small size of the market (600,000-700,000 viewers total) a show cannot expect to draw a large audience from three already established breakfast programs in a short space of time. That said, not seeing the audience grow would be a massive concern for Ten’s new management (though if the issues are indeed with management meddling as previous members of the team suggest then the show was never given a clear shot and doomed to fail in the first instance).
While there have been programming upsets in 2012, this would be by far the biggest – with the new Breakfast program Ch10 were only ever going to win big or lose big. Come 10am this morning it feels like the latter will come to pass.