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How “fast” should “Fastracking” be?

Nine promised Fastracking for Hot in Cleveland. But with 5 episodes in the US, how slow can you be before it is no longer "fast?"

What should qualify as Fastracking these days?

Nine recently said it would be Fastracking its new US comedies, including Hot in Cleveland, which features Betty White.

By tomorrow 5 episodes will have aired in the US, but no airdate has been announced by Nine.

While nobody is suggesting Fastracking should strictly be same day and date, moving beyond 2 weeks is surely stretching the flexibility of the phrase (and a phrase that was introduced to the game by Seven some years ago).

Amongst its other promise were the shows S### My Dad Says, Mike and Molly, Mr. Sunshine and Episodes.

“This is the new comedy lineup that will go to air on Nine later in 2010 and into 2011,” Nine claimed last month.

In the US, Showtime has now announced Episodes, featuring Matt Le Blanc, will premiere in January. Does this still qualify as “later in 2010 and into 2011?” Perhaps.

Of Hot in Cleveland, Nine tells TV Tonight, “We are very excited about putting the show to air and it will be going in the schedule as soon as possible.”

While it has been delivered with some shows such as Lost, in Free to Air TV, genuine Fastracking actually applies to more low-profile fare such as The View, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Update: Nine schedules Hot in Cleveland for 8pm Monday July 26.

23 Responses

  1. I agree with AJ. I think reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race should be fast-tracked, because it kinda ruins the whole point of watching, if we already find out who won months before. Serialised shows like The Vampire Diaries are & should continue to be fast-tracked, because they have lots of online fans and we can’t join in discussions if we are weeks behind. I don’t see the urgency in fast-tracking for procedural dramas and sitcoms, particularly because and the main audience who watches them seem to be content with watching repeats.
    My idea of fast-tracking is less than a week for reality & serialised shows.

  2. As far as I’m concerned, generally I see a local network airing within a month of an overseas airdate as claiming a right to the term ‘fast-tracking’. Though in saying this, I am largely refering to main US series which start airing in the US around September, but traditionallyhaven’t air in Australia till the following year (at the least). Take new NCIS for example, whereby, traditionally, the local network aired it from around the beginning of our survey year (February) onwards, however over the past few years that network has started airing episodes from the new season from around October, and it is this I label as fast-tracking.

    Bela, while it would be nice in a perfect world to have all imported series air soon after their original overseas airings (as you’ve written, within 2-3 weeks), I would think it unfeasible to do this with every series.

  3. i think the best way to do it is 2-3 weeks behind so that th Australian networks do not have to be at the ererratic US scheduling. The general public just think the Australian network is screwing with thm when there is not much they can do.

    but to put it under the “fasttracked” tag should be <7 days. but no one seems to be using that term very often anymore anyway.
    that said there are promos now saying new fasttracked Top Gear i coming to 9. either they are lying or they are going to show the last episodeof the season first or something.

  4. I suspect that the real reason for the delay is to ‘pork barrel’ shows that Aus networks think have rating potential (and use the meantime to collect sponsors).

    If Letterman, etc. can do regular 24 hour turnarounds it proves there’s no logistical barrier.

    But by stock-piling shows until the best ratings opportunity/timeslot comes around is self-defeating, because a program rapidly loses much of its rating potential as it slips later and later behind its original world premiere.

    But up to 1 week is tolerable because many are weekly series.

  5. No more than two weeks. It’s understandable that there are events that are a -must- like State of Origin or a special sporting event. SO you give the show leeway.

    It is sometimes difficult to fast track within 24-48 hours, after all some shows have been in a timeslot forever and rate well in the timeslot. Two and a Half Men airs Monday in the US, about 3pm Tuesday. The new episode comes out 7:30 Monday, I think if 9 changed that, to co-incide with the US and airred it Tuesday 7:30 or something, it’s ratings would fall dramatically.

    There’s also the issue with the Thursday shows, CSI, Grey’s, Survivor and The Mentalist are all pretty high rating shows in Australia, if we airred them on Friday it would be a waste, dumping them onto a dead night.

    Fact is if Australia can promotoe foreign shows, put them in a nice timeslot and air it with consistency, it will rate at least decently. Don’t constantly move the show around your timeslot, don’t replace it with repeats of crappy Australian shows. The secret to success is consistency.

    Also, with The View, ET and Ellen, they need to be fasttracked, they talk about the issues that are hitting America (to them the entire world) right there and then. It’s no use waiting two weeks to air the ET episode that broke the news to the world that Michael Jackson died a month later, nobody will give a rats ass by then.

  6. 1 week, maximum, to qualify for the ‘fasttrack’ title. And as you point out – it’s been done with Letterman for years, so what’s the big deal FTA? Get on with it, or people will choice other mediums.

  7. The networks are free to choose how quick fastracking should occur. However, I’m sure the viewers will vote with their remotes if the shows aren’t being fastracked at a satisfactory pace.

  8. If its not within 24 hours, its not fastracking … you can fastrack shows yourself within hours, if not minutes, of the show going to air in the US if you know where to look 😉 (and thats one of the main reasons the channels started doing it, so if they cannot keep up with what they are trying to avoid, why bother at all?).

  9. Nine think replaying 15+ year-old Seinfeld episodes on GO! is Fastracking! But seriously, yes two weeks max between US and Aus is a good definition of Fastracking. Heaven forbid that we have to watch ET or Ellen older than that!

  10. Nine tells … , “it will be going in the schedule as soon as possible.”

    — that would have been some four weeks ago. At best what they mean is “as soon as practicable”, more likely they mean “when we feel like it”.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that; if only they’d say it.

  11. “Fastracking” should be as soon as possible.

    If a show truly cannot be shown within 24-48 hours of screening in the US due to “scheduling” reasons, then it should at least be offered for download (with ads if necessary) from the relevant channel’s website.

    That typed, I think “Fastracking” should be a higher priority for “serialised” dramas and “cult” TV (for example, Lost, Supernatural, Glee, Doctor Who) and reality shows (for example, Survivor, Amazing Race) than for sitcoms and “procedural” dramas. But that shouldn’t excuse channels from sitting on various sitcoms for months if not longer (like channel 10 did with Modern Family).

  12. I think fast tracking should be within one week for drama’s and sitcoms. Talk shows and such it should be no more than 1 day as they are usually very topical and a few weeks later much of what stars on those show go on to promote is over.

    I have little doubt Nine will screw this up, Hot in Cleveland should be on now, and when the other new ones come up Nine should have then on within 2 weeks and not wait several months to see if it’s a hit. This is probably the reason they are waiting. We all saw them burnt by that Viva Laughlin a few years back.

    I’m looking forward to Mike and Molly, Mr. Sunshine and Episodes but if Nine wait too long I will go else where!

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