TEN: “We are disappointed.”

Channel TEN is licking its wounds over the loss of its hit comedy show Thank God You’re Here to Seven.

It had been trying to lure the successful show back to screen for the better part of a year. At the end of 2007 it was is in discussions with Working Dog for a “bigger and better” Thank God You’re Here or 2008. But it never eventuated.

Instead the team comprising Rob Sitch, Tom Gleisner, Santo Cilauro, Jane Kennedy and Michael Hirsch returned to the ABC for The Hollowmen. They wrote, directed, produced and performed in two series.

That gave them a break from Thank God You’re Here. Now, without any clarity on whether there is a third series of The Hollowmen for the ABC, they have signed with Seven for a fourth series of their improvisation hit.

Had the show proceeded on TEN there would have been significant changes. It is unlikely Shane Bourne would have been able to return as host. His affiliation with Seven would have been problematic for all.

It would have also been looking for a new studio. The space it once called home at Global Studios in Nunawading, is now a permanent Neighbours studio.

Late yesterday, TEN Programming Manager David Mott, was clearly disappointed by the move, especially considering the network had forged such a strong bond with Working Dog. Their backing of the format, helped Working Dog to license international versions of the series, including one in the US.

“The collaboration between Network TEN and Working Dog has produced some ground-breaking Australian television such as The Panel, The Panel Xmas Wrap and Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures.

“Network TEN also took a leap of faith with Working Dog to develop what was then just an idea into Thank God You’re Here, which became an Australian success on TEN in 2006.

We are disappointed that we couldn’t settle on a mutually rewarding position in our recent negotiations.”

Shows changing networks isn’t unusual, but it is rare. Most recently, Seven also snatched Kath & Kim from the ABC. Neighbours and Rove previously appeared on other networks, but weren’t usurped until they had ended their deals.

Sadly without its most popular comedy series, it seems TEN will be the ones left to improvise…

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