For years, Channel 9 was “The One”. It continued, morphing into being “Still The One”. Then, realising the pressure of being “The One” was too much, they decided that telling us “Welcome Home” a lot would make it easier. Well, easier from 2nd place, anyway.
It’s been well chronicled as to “Who Killed Channel 9”. Reasonably speaking, I’m not sure Channel 9 was killed; it was very seriously wounded though, and it’s never really recovered. So, I offer my report card on the start of 2011 for the Nine Network (primarily Channel 9)…
It’s a very tight competition at 6PM for our News eyes. Each capital city market functions on almost historic merit, and it’s very tough to break through either way. Certainly the race in MEL/SYD/BNE is most obvious, and the teams in each state are absolutely working their butts off to make their news service the one that people turn to at 6pm (and other times). It’s not one that Ch9 is winning too regularly so far in 2011, though absolutely not through lack of talent or effort. 8/10
Breakfast, while the ratings don’t reflect the tussle, is fierce. Like life depended on it. To have people switch on Ch9 at the start of the day in the hope/habit that they’ll leave it on for later in the evening is paramount. The Today Show is a vastly different product to the more serious news-focused show it was 15 years ago, having had to change to keep up with it’s main rival. The banter at the desk is more relaxed, there’s nicknames, there’s lots of entertainment news & gossip. Karl & Lisa will even play the occasional game or two of Wii. The show is fun, and deserves a better audience than it’s getting. 7/10
Local drama has been very hit & miss for for the network. Underbelly/Underbelly Files = good. Cops LAC = bad. Sea Patrol = good. Rescue = just passable (be careful of those copied promos!). I know it’s expensive but please, Ch9, apply yourself better. When your best drama for the start of the year peaks at 1.4m vs a regular 2m… some wider thinking needs to be applied. There’s a little too much “uniform” in your recipe at the moment. 5/10
As the “home of laughter”, I expect just that. Laughs. So when I look to local comedy offering me shows like The AFL Footy Show & The NRL Footy Show just aren’t gonna cut it. For your sake and mine, the less said about Ben Elton:Live From Planet Earth the better. We all know you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve in the form of The Joy of Sets & Hamish & Andy… just don’t screw it up, please. 3/10
Even their imports aren’t really helping you that much, with the clear exception of The Mentalist. CSI/CSI:Miami/CSI:NY are no longer the ratings juggernauts they once were. Two and a Half Men is, well… let’s just call that ‘on hiatus’. Big Bang Theory will help, but not solve the TAAHM problem. Top Gear UK is on too late, and the AU version (while I’m sure expensive) was just starting to hit it’s stride last year and 2010 was over. No sign of it coming this year yet. Mike & Molly is good – promote that better. $#*! My Dad Says is over a year old – you promoted it in 2010! – so it’s gonna struggle a bit. 4/10
The reality/factual menu that you offer is a bit all over the place. Send in the Dogs vs Farmer Wants A Wife. Customs vs Getaway (the new, shortened version, anyway). The Block performed really well in 2010, and will likely do the same this year (just beware imitators, lurking in the near channels). I know some circles are fawning over FWAW, and while 8 seasons indicates there’s an audience, it’s not like it’s winning it’s timeslot. 6.5/10
Eddie McGuire is a polarising character. Any show he fronts will mean people are in or they’re out (just look at the cap city breaks on his shows to see that). Some things he does very well (like the Qld Floods telethon). But how about we use this seasoning a little more sparingly, please?
60 Minutes is off to a flying start. The people want more Stefanovic, so perhaps you should consider that move permanently. I understand that then sliding Ben Fordham next to Lisa Wilkinson may be an issue (cougar much?), but what are you gonna do? Bring on the new Underbelly. We all want it. Also, you need to get Mr Sunshine & Episodes on air here STAT. People that want to see those shows are already downloading them, and you’re losing potential audience fast.
There are some things you are doing great. Your coverage of the Qld Floods was unsurpassed. A brilliant effort by all invovled. That you’ve embraced social media and that you have gotten almost EVERYONE hooked in is great. The LiveStream/Behind the Scenes stuff you do on YouTube is excellent, as is the Backstage stuff (when the audio is good). Allowing viewers to connect with what happens around the camera (behind it and in front when not rolling) is spot on. That most of your on-air (and off-air) talent have jumped onto twitter and having at it is brilliant. Who doesn’t want to talk to Karl or Peter Harvey or Liz Hayes or Peter Hitchener or Melissa Downes?! Even better when they talk back.
There’s lots you can improve on. Please do keep trying, Channel 9. You’re not doing too badly. The problem is you’re currently up against “doing bloody awesome” and you’ve no real counter punches yet. Don’t leave it in the dressing room – now is the time to lay it on the line.
I get the feeling that people WANT to come back to Channel 9, you just have to give them good reason to. So, how about it, huh?
P.S. WHERE THE BLOODY HELL IS SURVIVOR:REDEMPTION ISLAND?! [/end rant]