Programmers sell the spin

used_car_salesmanIf you believed everything that network programmers tell us this week, by now you probably would have bought some swamp land at a very cheap rate and a shiny new car driven by a little old lady every Sunday.

But spin at this time of the year is nothing new.

TEN programmer David Mott says this is the week the ratings race really starts and the February 8 date is not relevant any more.

“We’re very happy with the new series of Loser and Dance,” he told The Australian. “They’ve come up a treat. We’ve added a whole other level with couples competing.”

He is also adamant that despite a lukewarm reception to the announcement of Masterchef Australia it is a very strong show with compelling stories.

“People are in for a huge shock about what this show is like when it launches in May,” he says. “It’s truly aspirational.”

Interesting that it already has ‘compelling stories’ when it is still in the casting process.

Meanwhile Nine programmer Michael Healy believes Nine’s line-up is ‘edgy and diverse’ and skews towards younger audiences than Seven’s, perfectly targeting the 25-54 and 18-49 demographic.

“With Sunday Night, I guess Seven has decided to go for an older audience, looking at their line-up,” Healy says somewhat provocatively.

“They’re looking for stability with an older audience.”

Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities will directly compete with Desperate Housewives but Healy is not worried.

“The reality is Underbelly is just one part of the schedule, a very important part, but the rest of the week has to line up. Underbelly is obviously going to launch extremely well.” Healy says the schedule is not packed with risky shows which would fall by the wayside quickly, like Monster House last year, for example.

“Our line-up is very considered and has everything from family shows to drama,” Healy says.

“We’re very fortunate to have international brands with proven track records, like Wipeout and Ladette to Lady and very high production values on all our shows.”

Over at Seven Tim Worner is “not relying on one or two shows to have an impact”.

“The Australian Open is a platform that’s worked for us,” Worner says. He has again chosen to roll straight out of the tennis into a “very big week of TV”.

Worner is also excited about taking on Nine on Sundays with the powerhouse double of Border Security and a new factual series, Triple Zero Heroes.

TV Tonight is encouraged by TEN’s schedule declaration so early, a confident move which completely contradicts Nine’s ultra-late schedule last week. So late that weekly guides in Sunday newspapers yesterday were rife with the letters: “TBA.” Seven meanwhile had declared most of its schedule, but notably held off announcing Sunday the 8th – day one of the race.

Here’s hoping ‘TBA’ doesn’t become the phrase of the year.

Source: The Australian


  1. Where 9 has a TBA in the TV guide, I automatically watch another network.

    ‘Edgy’ for 9 is new episodes of 2.5 men – they havent been shown 100 times before, and ‘diverse’ is episodes across 3 seasons in a week. LOL

  2. Tony Harrison

    As much as I hate to to agree with a network programmer, I’m wih David Mott when he says that people will be surprised by MasterChef. The British series is compulsive viewing (even the celebrity editions!). As for the rest – Nine have no chance with their juvenile rubbish (excluding Underbelly). Seven may succeed with Sunday Night if they can put a girdle on Mike Munro’s smirk. Otherwise, thank God for Foxtel and IQ.

  3. Speaking of spin.Anyone seen/heard recent promo for Flashpoint.
    “Series Premiere !!”
    And I thought sneak peak was hard to interpret at Nine.

  4. ABC brings back New Tricks on Sat 07Feb09 at 730pm, I’m surprised nothing has appeared on TV tonight given the sad lineup provided by Free TV. Very sad 🙁

  5. Even after abandoning free-to-air programming, you still can’t escape the massive advertising campaigns. One thing i will take issue with is ‘number 1’ solely being in total people, which some people still firmly believe. I’m certainly no network ‘spin doctor’, but demos are more important than total people, simple as that. It’s a pity nine (and the rest) doesn’t practice what it preaches, and continues to irritate and drive away the very people who make them the most money, younger demos.

  6. gossip girl indeed! being a teenager, that attracted me to the show…but 9 just didnt want to give it a go. gossip girl really should have been on ten anyway. although since 90210 and gossip girl failed….is the teenager show era on free to air over? i wish there was a channel like the CW on free to air.

  7. Yes, I would say, 9 “knew” 7 was planning roadblock advertising, especially in a sole newspaper market, like Brisbane.

    Seven’s “networked” attitude, in relation to Brisbane is bugging me.

  8. well the issue here is. the no.2 network (9) will always be the one doing the spin it used to be 7 back in the day when they were no.2. the reason being that the no.1 network just has to tell it like it is without spin and it will always sound good for them. the 2nd rate network never has that luxury and has to “create” ways that make their network sound better. the spin here is easier to point out than usual. people have already said a lot of what i was thinking.

    “With Sunday Night, I guess Seven has decided to go for an older audience” so exactly what has 9 been doing with 60 minutes, domestic blitz, farmer wants a wife, the mentalist ect. and as for 7 having “stability with an older audience.” better than 9 which has not had stability in any audience. sure they have had quick fixes with ramsay and 2.5men but they are far from stability.

    anyway after all that fuss about winning the demos = winning advertising dollars their advertising profit took a headdive from ’07 to ’08 which is really bad when you consider how terrible ’07 was for them. i will believe the demo story when i see it work. i think it will be another win for 7 this year. 9 will not do as well this year because last year they heavily relied on ramsay and 2.5 men, both shows that became big during the summer.

  9. Yup, Adults Only 20 to 1 and Amazing Medical Stories are very edgy.

    Underbelly will be edgy, but I think confusing crude language (ie Ladette to Lady) with edgy is a mistake. If Nine really want the younger audience where is Gossip Girl?

  10. i’m young, only 22, and i am not interested in anything 9 has on offer and will watch most of my shows on 7 with some from 10 as well. why do they think being young and wanting to watch shows with no quality are the same thing. just because i am young does not make me a brain dead, tasteless, 9 watcher. i have no network loyalty i will watch any channel that airs a show i like, i watched moonlight on 9. but they just aren’t showing anything i want right now and over the last decade they barely have, at most in any one week i would say there have been 3 shows maximum that i would watch on 9, whereas there could be about 20 on 7 and 10.

    on a side note, i am feeling quite lucky to be in QLD right now as our sunday mail tv guide does not have all those TBA’s, i bet they had to push their print deadline back to accommodate 9’s late schedule though as it seems plenty of other states didn’t make it. i wonder if the qld ratings are far better than other states if maybe 9 will learn their lesson and in future make sure they take the printed guides into account if they want anyone to watch their station.

  11. I would love to see legitmately ‘edgy’ stuff on Nine – like the comedy that’s shown on SBS. If Nine show it, I’ll tune in. They need to make some moves and take some risks if they want to get people tuning back onto their station.

  12. Last weeks TV Week had 9 TBAs between 7 and 9, meaning a lot of people will probably miss the season start to their shows.

    I think it will be closer this year but ch7 will come out on top again and quite a few shows will be dropped after the first month, if not sooner.

  13. and spin it definately is:
    i would like to hear what 9’s definition of “diverse” is. having 8hours a week of crime based shows and 8 episodes of 2.5men per week is not exactly my definition.

    and as for “the schedule is not packed with risky shows which would fall by the wayside quickly” well that’s debatable. seeings that ramsay was scoring 6-700k in low competition slots just after the olympics. flashpoint has never really had interest or done well, wipeout had fast downfall towards the end of the US season. 2.5men vs HIMYM could be a disaster as could farmer vs AGT and mentalist vs CM and house as we saw last year. and i would personally call adult 20to1 a risk it’s not exactly screaming with appeal.

    both networks seem to be counting their chickens before they hatch with “taking on Nine on Sundays with the powerhouse double” and “Underbelly is obviously going to launch extremely well”

  14. Nine are really annoying, they act really smug when they release crap like this, its no wonder they are no longer the #1 network. What shows do they have to attract younger viewers besides lame crap like CBS crime shows and the likes of Wipeout Australia?? Oh right, there’s always 2.5 men 8x a week, thats totally the solution for the holes all over the schedule.

    Although I disagree Richard on Seven bringing out a lot of their big hits now, for example CH held over 8 eps of last year. They may as well air those now, it’d be pointless to hold them over until June. Plus, this time last year Nine was dominating Seven with far too much reliance on 2.5 men and Ramsay, so now Seven have learned and are being more competitive.

  15. Healy’s quotes read as if he is confused about what sort of network Channel Nine should be. For ” edgy and diverse’ read lacking in focus and clarity about brand. For “very considered and has everything from family shows to drama” read we’re aiming at everyone and everything and will programme as if people watch a network and not a show.

  16. Seven will probably dominate this year, but I think its a risk for them to bring all of the top rating shows back together so soon after the end of last year (Rafters, Border, Housewifes, Find my Family etc..)

    I think they should have saved a few for later in the year cause I can see Seven’s ratings fading as the shows drag on get a bit tired.

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