NOTE: I’m not saying that any of these shows are necessarily good (some certainly are) – more pointing out they’ve almost been sizzled to death and all we’re left with is a very burnt sausage.
All the networks are guilty of this crime. Hey Channel 7, where’s Red Widow (now cancelled in the US after one season), The Mole – Culture Clash and Mr Selfridge?! At what point will we get Upper Middle Bogan ABC1 (and why do we have to wait until June for It’s A Date)? Have Channel 10 mothballed The Americans, Ripper Street, Come Date With Me, Wonderland and Reef Doctors (that’s a LOT of shows to hold onto)?
It’s these delays that build significant ill-will toward the FTA networks and force others to source the international imports by nefarious means (ask your torrenting friends what they think of Mr Selfridge).
Channel 9 certainly hold the crown as the network hiding the most . They went big at the end of 2012 with their promos for the new year, and then rolled out new promos in February and March for shows WE KNOW aren’t due until the latter half of the year. Big Brother, Australia’s Got Talent, Underbelly Sqizzy – all shows that *will* appear but got pimped way too early.
And then there’s The Great Australian Bake Off. Those promos with people climbing cakes; the “Simon Cowell of Cake” herself monstering around the tent having what for with quivering contestants; Anna Gare gawking at the screen. Nada. As host Shane Jacobsen noted at the media launch in Brisbane two months ago this show was five gigs ago for him (so it’s hardly fresh).
Networks are completely within their rights to hold and schedule shows so that they garner the most commercial benefit from them. The competition is fierce too, and this alone is likely the reason why GABO has yet to see the light of day despite so many premature e-schedule-ations. It also makes the programming department look very gun-shy.
Nine locked down their schedule that they offer the press access to a month ago in the hope they could jockey better for position against Seven, though it hasn’t paid off how they’d like. The seasoned media journalist can pretty much predict where any new shows are going to fit and now that long-form reality formats like The Block Sky High have launched it battens down their schedule to leave very few gaps.
GABO couldn’t launch against My Kitchen Rules earlier in the year because it’d get smashed; same if they drop it against an impending and reinvigorated MasterChef Australia. Then all of a sudden their schedule is full of idiots locked in a house and people shooting each other in a period setting. The contestants must be just as frustrated as the audience as they contractually cannot speak about the show or their time in it until after the episodes air.
For the record, Reef Doctors currently stands as the show with the longest record for absenteeism. Filmed in 2011 for a 2012 release it’s now the middle of 2013 and looks to only continue to collect dust on the Ten programming shelves. Star and one time golden girl Lisa McCune has indirectly played her part in the delay with her personal life being splashed across the tabloids over her alleged infidelity – not a great look when the character she plays in her yet to be seen show is caught in a love triangle.
The cure for Missing Program-itis? Take two episodes of your favourite Foxtel show express from the US and call me in the morning.