By the time you read this article, it’ll be too late.
Wake Up and Studio 10 are locked and loaded and ready to launch. Network Ten’s fate is well and truly in their own hands.
We know that 2012’s Breakfast debacle averaged 38,000 viewers across the year (at its lowest, it drew less than 1,000 viewers nationally, giving it an official OzTAM ratings score of 0).
This is it. This is Ten’s redemption song.
If this revamped morning programming doesn’t work… well, let’s be fair, it’s probably nicest not to consider it. At least not yet.
We’ve all seen the articles. The multitudes of tweets, promos, and buses flying past with the smiling faces of Tash, Tarsh & Matho on them. If not then you’ve been living in a cave. Or possibly somewhere at the ABC.
Now that's a bus! pic.twitter.com/bypnOwQGEV
— Wake Up (@WakeUpOnTEN) October 30, 2013
We know what’s coming from Ten (an entirely revamped morning line up and a giveaway of $1 million). And from Nine (a car a day giveaway plus a share in $750,000, as well as a return to life behind a desk for the hosts). All we know from Seven is they have a “surprise” for us.
All this for a share of a meagre 800,000 – 900,000 viewers.
But it is way more important than just a share of the total breakfast viewers.
This new schedule of shows has the capacity to do what changes to their primetime listings have not been able to do. Draw viewers back to Ten.
If 2013 was Ten’s annus horribilis then 2013 has been the changing of the sheets of a urine-soaked bed as the aftermath of the nightmare they didn’t realise they had. A sudden change in CEO. A raft of programs held over to 2014 because they either weren’t ready or didn’t need to get burned off in the nightly sacrifice that has been Ten’s evening programming. A share price as low as they’ve seen since the company listed.
With the change of CEO came the news that Ten had done part of what I suggested at the end of 2012 – hire Adam Boland.
Since March he’s been the Director of Morning Television for the network and formulating a plan that has had more column inches/radio minutes/blogs written about it than any other program in Australian TV history. Working with the Network he’s reformulated a series of shows and integrated the Eyewitness News brand back into morning TV to deliver what everyone that roots for Ten will be their return to the commercial TV race.
Change has come to Ten and they’re banking on it being the kind of change we all wanted.
I’m an unashamed Boland fan. I loved what he did with Sunrise and I’m buoyant about the new morning programming kicking off tomorrow. I’m good mates with Rob McKnight and I think that what he’s overseeing will indeed be quite the change up to late morning TV. These are two good men – TV nerds the both of them – each working with a great cast (Natarsha Belling, Natasha Exelby, James Mathison, Sam Mac, Nuala Hafner, Maude Garrett, Sarah Harris, Ita Buttrose, Joe Hildebrand, Jessica Rowe) and behind the scenes team to deliver what should be (and what needs to be) quality programming.
To launch 4 weeks out from the end of the ratings year and run at full strength over summer set their intentions clearly on the viewership of Sunrise and Today (thus the above responses by the respective shows to Ten’s paired show’s launch). Both shows are going to do their darndest to get their slice of the viewer pie and launch into the 2014 ratings year already set as a competitor, not as a punchline.
It will take Ten time to build a strong and loyal viewer group for Wake Up and Studio Ten. More than three months but we’ll certainly have a great indication by Feb 2014 how quickly that growth may or may not be taking place.
Both shows have been in rehearsal for over a month, creating shows that haven’t been seen other than in the Pyrmont control room (and, I’d offer, the Ten Boardroom). They’re ready. It’ll be a nervous sleep tonight for Adam, Rob and their teams, but they’re ready.
— Sam Mac (McMillan) (@MrSamMac) November 1, 2013
Success will likely mean everyone gets a slice (albeit smaller) of the viewer pie, and Ten leverage this renewed success through some smart purchases for their evening schedule that will help reinvigorate the-little-network-that-could-but-recently-hasn’t-been-able-to. Failure won’t mean the end of the Ten Network but it will be the start of the end of the Network as we know it – very likely it’ll be bought out by Foxtel or the like and who knows what it will become.
Lots of people will be watching tomorrow. Lots. Even if only for a few minutes. Boland knows that and I’m confident the show is built tomorrow to cater to that. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.
And, ultimately, we’re the ones that’ll benefit. Three competitive commercial Networks means more competition; more challenging programming; more choices for us as viewers (in the morning AND in the evening).