Snake-oil television to anyone who’ll listen

If you believe TV execs, telly has never looked better than in 2009. And they might sell you some snake oil and miracle elixirs while you're listening too.

Everybody’s never been happier. Everybody’s making more Australian content than ever. Everybody’s got some snake oil to sell.

That’s if you believe the network executives.

“We’ve got Australian drama more spot-on than we have for a long time,” Seven’s head of programming Tim Worner told the Daily Telegraph.

“Television drama and comedy are possibly the healthiest we have seen in the last 10 years and looking forward it will just get better.”

Nine’s David Gyngell is just as buoyant.

“We are making more shows than we ever have,” he said. “Financially, we have got ourselves into a better position than we were. It gives the schedule a bit more variety.”

Financially PBL Media has found bridge funding to service its enormous debt. That might give Nine room to breathe, but it’s hardly an ideal position. While it is certainly producing dramas with Underbelly 2, Sea Patrol and Rescue Squad (or Rescue as it has also been referrred to), plus lots of lifestyle and factual, it also knocked back The Young Doctors which it promised for 2008 and laid off a slew of production staff at GTV9. It plans to re-hire them on a project-only basis. Somehow these points are overlooked in the spin of ’09.

Meanwhile Seven’s drama slate is indeed booming with four hit local dramas: City Homicide, Packed to the Rafters, All Saints and the perennial Home and Away.

But if Tim Worner thinks comedy is on the rise then he must have heard a different joke.

2008 was the unfunniest year for comedy in ages. There was no Kath & Kim, The Chaser, Summer Heights High or Thank God You’re Here. While it’s true Seven has since snaffled the latter from TEN, what has it decided on the unfunny Out of the Question? And is This is Your Laugh due to resume production? What precisely is the immediate future for new Kath & Kim?

Perhaps Seven thinks its factual slate is worth chuckling over. God knows it dominates our early evening viewing week in, week out. Seven daren’t go near scripted comedy, or even sketch comedy, anymore, preferring the cheaper failsafe observationals. Based on its 2009 production slate, the ABC has a lot more to keep us laughing than Seven. In 2009 there’s more Gruen Transfer, John Safran, Lawrence Leung, Chaser, Sam Simmons, more new projects from Denton and another season of The Librarians.

So successful are the factuals for Seven, that TEN is ramping up its slate on the genre too -at least when it isn’t busy with reality shows. Thanks, Seven…

Nine will bombard us with lifestyle shows to warm the cockles of our hearts, peppered with local versions of tawdry hits like Wipeout and Ladette to Lady.

Roll up, roll up. Just six more weeks before the biggest show on Earth.

Source: Daily Telegraph

24 Responses

  1. Everytime I see a promo for a new show for 2009 I wonder how many weeks it will be on before being bumped, dumped or simply disappears altogether. I remember many years ago you’d look forward to end of summer and ratings starting – all the new shows to watch, ones from last year returning from their cliff hangers of the previous year, etc, and you would know that if it was advertised for a certain time, then it would remain at that time for the whole season. And if it said 8.30 on the program, worst case was it would start at 8.31 due to a news update! Even through Easter and July. Those were the days!

    Perhaps the problem could be solved by not having instant ratings rerporting! Make them wait 13 weeks or so to see if a show worked or not. That’d stop the constant chopping and changing.

  2. One of my New Year Resolutions is to watch far less FTA network TV – that’s you, Seven, Nine, Ten (and SBS because they sold out and went commercial).

    With the digital age of television came a massive drop in quality programming. HD TV is worthless with nothing to watch.

  3. I didn’t know where to put this and i was here so i’ll just blurt out that I hate Channel Nine and every single aspect about it!!!!!! I hate its fat ugly logo (dots or no dots) graphics, news, voice overs, promos, its big head identity as being the first network in the country, and all of its shows, the shoddy bull **** programmes it spits out like Trouble in Paradise, The Unusuals, Seven Deadly Sins, Missing Pieces, aussie wipeout and ladette to lady. Its just sooooo tacky, real bottom of the barrel stuff they think will be hits, they think the country will warm to but at least half will be axed, rested or never even be shown on the tv!!. “We are making more shows than ever” – Gyngell. Doesnt mean they’re gonna be good or rate their pants off!!
    Sorry, but Nine are gonna lose their namesake year as well.

    Seven in 09.

  4. tommyk – remember these?

    “Unlike other networks, Channel Nine is committed to quality programming and entertaining viewers every day of the year”

    “While on my watch, we won’t be cutting our costs to damage our content”

    They are also covering up the fact that they have so many shows that they cut off mid-season that fans are begging to be put back on the air.

  5. if you guys think that gyngell comments here are lies/spins you should type “choose 9 in ’09” into youtube i don’t think there was one thing they said that wasn’t covering something up or leaving out a vital detail.

    eg. “the mentalist has been a great sucess, skyrocketing to one and a half million viewers by the 2nd episode.”

  6. ah yes, more lies and spins from gyngell and the army of 9 fanboys.

    i can understand if a CEO illuminates good aspects and glosses over flaws, thats their job. but gyngell is full of lies and empty promises which is a different thing all together. it makes his words so uncredited. i know never to listen to the rubbish that comes out of his mouth. i’ll judge 9’s performances for myself, thanks.

    i don’t really mind any of the other CEO’s, they seem to know how to do their job. its just that gyngell idiot that gets my goat.

  7. There is no doubt 9 had an improved year, which wasn’t hard compared to last year when they were stuck up shit creek. But the way Gyngell carries on is like it’s all flowers, high 5’s, patting each other on the back and skipping through the 9 hall ways.

    When in reality they have faced mass job cuts, the parent company is 4bill in debt, axing long running Australian shows in favour of cheap and nasty ones as a means of cost cutting.

    Then lets not mention the 2.5 Men and Ramsay disease, the latter is now dead with Men well and truely on the way out. And in 09 they are trying to flog factuals, the majority cheap foreign versions none less.

    Choose Cheap and Nasty in 09.

  8. Actually Gyngell is the right man for Nine at this point in its life.

    Historically network CEOs always talk spin (but that doesn’t mean we have to buy it). Gyngell has turned Nine’s ratings around from the lows of 2007. In a business so hamstrung financially he’s doing a good job. Still, I’d like to hear a little more of the pragmatic tone I heard from him a year ago.

  9. @JohnP, i agree if gyngell leaves maybe 9’s problems will leave with him. ever since he started 9 has been going down the toilet (i know its not only his fault but he is part of it)

    @knoxoverstreet: sorry, i just have to ask, how exactly is “gyng” a legend. as a person he is a boastful, dillusional, untrustworthy, spin-doctor. as a CEO he is a complete failure shown through 9’s ratings. Blackley, well he is honest, asks for help and is trying his best to save a sinking ship. Leckie, although he is hard to like, he does tell it like it is, does not hide flaws, and knows how to do his job.

    also, i think we can establish (as tommyk has pointed out) that 9 will be flooded with factuals probably even more so than 7 in 2009, atleast people seem to like 7’s.
    if 7 in 08 was wall to wall factuals, then 9 was wall to wall cop shows and 2.5 men, and the walls are wider in 9.

  10. I can’t hold it in any longer……knoxoverstreet – have you ever said a bad word about channel nine? All you seem to do is turn a blind eye to every bad decision they have made. But yes, seven needs to trim down on those factuals.

  11. It’s time execs like Gyngell are given the boot for believing the crap they constantly spin over the years. They have driven our networks into the ground. Power gone to their heads?

    One chimpanzee to run each commercial network should be mandated as part of TV broadcasting licence rules to uphold our current standards…

  12. “Gyng” is a legend!! Gotta love the guy!

    Good to see 9s schedule will have so much to offer in 2009. 7 will be just more wall to wall factuals for the oldies.

  13. Ladette To Lady is going to be a cracker, especially as the Australian girls will bring their own particular mischief to the show.

    I just wish the stations would fast track shows from other countries rather then playing them months after they have already shown. Therefore you either download (which means reduced ratings) or wait and try not to pick up any spoilers from the internet.

  14. LOL @ gyngels comments, he has talked so much s**t this year my personal favourite is “we will not and never have sacrificed quality for financial reasons” <<LOL

    @Jerome, i know that a lot of thought and money goes into the scripts for TGYH but it is still not classified as a “scripted comedy” but yes, 7 have good collection of comedies for 2009. atleast more than 9 and 10.

    as long as this is your laugh keeps a low profile (10:30 or HD only), i’d say that 7 would keep it, it is good for a guilty light pleasure every now and then.

    we should probably mention 9’s factual line up while we are at it:
    everyday heroes, seven deadly sins, fire 000, RPA, whats good for you, animal emergency, borderline, search & rescue, missing persons unit, amazing medical stories, the gift, crime investigation australia, stay of execution, 24 hours, desperate measures, second chance, and local heroes, missing pieces. *phew*

  15. Gyngell is funny. Let’s go step by step/

    ““We are making more shows than we ever have, – shame you don’t show them when promised then.”
    “Financially, we have got ourselves into a better position than we were.- err, you were dead broke, now you are just 99 percent dead broke.
    It gives the schedule a bit more variety.” – err 20-1, 2 and half men and Ramsay overload is our idea of variety.
    Interpretation or spin is rife.
    David, can I buy some snake oil from you, I don’t trust the network execs anymore.

  16. what is gyngell on:

    gyngell: “We are making more shows than we ever have,”
    isn’t that a bad thing. it means they have axed so many shows (which they have) that they need to keep cycling through new stuff that could go either way.

    “Financially, we have got ourselves into a better position than we were”
    um yer only because you’ve cut captions for hearing impaired, dumped ed philips, pay-cut trevor marmelade, didn’t buy TGYH, sold 4 shows to foxtel, axed sunday for cheaper shows, james packer sold out, gave sea patrol a budget cut, possibly boned 2 original hi-5 members, didn’t do young doctors, and aired the cheapest shows possible.

    “gives the schedule a bit more variety”
    how much is a bit because this year all we saw was CBS cop shows, their repeats, two and a half men and hundreds of their repeats, and 20 to 1 and yes their repeats.

    ABC (and maybe ten) were definately the place for aussie comedy this year. 2009 7 will join them with 2 of the best scripted comedies of the decade, K&K and TGYH.
    where is 9?

  17. Geez just 6 weeks before it all starts again, God help us all!

    Year after year we believe them only to be disappointed in what they do to our favorite shows, will 2009 be any different?

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