Report: Jennifer Byrne for new TEN current affairs

The latest rumours on the future of TEN’s early evening programming speculates that the network is planning two and half hours of news and current affairs from 5pm – 7:30pm.

The Sunday Telegraph reports TEN is planning a new line-up from January with a one hour news service at 5pm, a half hour news bulletin at 6pm, a current affairs show at 6:30pm to be followed by The 7PM Project.

Jennifer Byrne is said to be in line for the new current affairs show, to compete with Today Tonight and A Current Affair. Byrne, who currently presents for the ABC, is a regular panellist on The 7PM Project and comes with a well-regarded track-record in journalism.

Such a move would elbow Neighbours to a new home, and there is again speculation it could wind up on TEN’s unannounced third channel. But under current regulations, that would see the show fail to deliver TEN any local quota points. Recently there was even a rumour Southern Star was pitching a new soap to the network to address that very question.

TEN has been coy about the many rumours that swirl around its early evening timeslot. Remember those stories about axing The Simpsons in favour of 90 minute bulletin last year? There was also a recent rumour that Sports Tonight could get an early primetime play -it already gets some early screenings on ONE.

TEN trumpeted Neighbours‘ achievements at its recent anniversary celebrations. Programming chief David Mott has said the show will remain part of the TEN family, which arguably says more about what he isn’t saying.

If TEN is indeed planning a current affairs bulletin with Jennifer Byrne it will need to invest significantly into its News resources. Such shows do not come cheap and TEN’s News budgets are more modest than those of Seven and Nine.

TEN’s 2011 Programme Launch is due in a little over a month’s time.

Source: Sunday Telegraph

46 Comments:

  1. Guys ten has struggled ever since the 1980’s eyewitness news was a ratings winner, it needs to fix the problems, hitch at 6 was the worst decision and neighbours has failed due to a lack of adequate story lines and reversing the show 6months back in time was a disgrace!. The main solution is 5-6 News at 5 local edition, a national and international edition at 6pm, current affairs with a credible journalistic approach at 6:30 and 7Pm in it’s current format, however no advertisements during the 6pm news edition would murder the opposition because it means more news and sports finance weather etc. My suggestion is to overlap the programming in each segment thus no the delays reduce giving the viewer no possible chance of changing the station, however pop up advertisements introduced at bearable limits should be consider only for expense reasons. Neighbours would do very well at 4pm as the concept of neighbours is for the younger generation, most viewers that made neighbours number 1 in the 80’s are no longer in the category of being a fan of neighbours.
    Hope this helps!

  2. What Ten should do and this would be possible if it weren’t for Dr Phil and Oprah is put the Bold and the Beautiful back to either 12 noon or 1pm weekdays and bring back the C rated or family friendly hour between 4 and 5pm.News and this Jennifer Byrne show can make up the hour after that.If they must go back to the drawing board and find something new and fresh for a 6pm offering And Retain Neighbours and 7pm project for those of us who can’t stand ACA and Today Tonight and Home and Away and 2.5 men

  3. To Ch10 – bring back real current affairs and don’t go the same way as ACA and TT. To Ms Byrne – read the contract carefully – any sign of dodgy tradesmen/evil banks/bludging council workers/foreigners taking our jobs – do not sign. Otherwise, you will be looking at your paycheck every week to remind yourself why you signed up in the first place.

  4. Why not have Neighbours at 5, a 5.30 one hour news bulletin, then the new current affairs show at 6.30 followed by 7pm Project, but i have heard a drama needs to be screened after 6pm to get the proper quota points. Perhaps they could turn Neighbours on its head and make it a late night drama at 10.30 then the late news!! Please 10 think carefully before doing anything to radical to Neighbours slot but agree something needs to be done, i think alot of younger viewers would switch off with to much news and current affairs. I like the rumour of a new soap though but nothing thats going to replace or force Neighbours axe…..

  5. I have to respectfully disagree with d.no. Neighbours is too expensive and potentially prestigious, not to mention critical for drama points, to move to its other channel. It is only being kept alive for its international sales and crucial drama points. I agree with the idea that any c/affairs program created would not go the same path as TT or ACA. Jennifer Byrne would not jump ship into supermarket stories and dole bludgers. First at five news is working well, will they tinker with it – hope not. The six to seven hour is the problem – moving Neighbours to 6pm would put it up against main news bulletins, but if followed with a credible and liked hour of current affairs and analysis / panel type content – it might rejuvenate 10’s early evening line up

  6. It costs Ten 25 grand whenever a repeat of The Simpsons is aired (if people ask why is the show still made, when its quality took a huge nosedive after about 9 or 10 seasons, that’s the main reason why) and probably twice that much when a new episode air. That’s money they can save at 6 pm, with something a lot cheaper. They can move Simpsons repeats to their 3rd channel.

  7. I love the fact that they’re thinking of using Jennifer Byrne but 2.5 hours of news is just overkill. There is really no need, especially with ABC News 24.

    Anyway, I thought 7PM was meant to be their current affairs offering? In any case judging from the quality of news on 7PM, even more news can’t be good. I mean, it’s fine for a half an hour show but extending that by an hour is pushing it a bit.

    Also, I’m an avid Simpsons fan so if this does go ahead, I really do hope they at least continue 6pm Simpsons on their other channel.

  8. @ vinnie

    Putting Neighbours agansit Home & Away would just hurt the ratings even more – there are lots of people who watch the news, Neighbours and the Home & Away.

  9. Now that Digital TV has a 75% takeup, it’s time for the Law and the TV stations to catch up. Moving sports tonight onto the main channel is just pointless – if people want sports news they have ONE.

    Ten’s treatment of 6-7pm has always provided an alternative to the News-Current Affairs hour on 7 and 9 – Why would they give away that point of difference.

    If Ten wants to keep its ‘young’ image it needs to think about whether it wants a 2.5 hour block of ‘news’ to start the night.

  10. I have a feeling ten’s current 6pm lineup will move over to their new digital channel. Simpsons will remain at 6pm followed by neighbours i think that’s a bit of a get up right there on GO and 7Two.Having an established early evening lineup. Prehaps 2.5hrs of news is too much I would try the current affairs at 6pm with news at 630 then the project can deconstruct the news at 7pm.

  11. I think some of you are missing the point. I don’t think Channel 10 would start a current affairs program that is similar to Channel 7 and 9.

    And it looks like Neighbours will be moving to TEN’s new digital channel. Smart move. Channel 10 will probably show it during the day at around midday and the encore will be at 7:30 on the new channel. Then the show can get a PG rating and finally start having some realistic drama.

  12. Ten needs to have ramped up investment in news (not just the bulletin but the aesthetics of each city’s set), prior to this or expanded news launching in my opinion.

    By ramped up, I don’t mean go out and scout off contract newsreaders.

    I’m talking about- unified set design for the east coast Ten O&O stations (first time since 1990’s) , with the current Sydney set being replicated in Brisbane and Melbourne, to allow any new national news service to be anchored from either TVQ or ATV if need arises.
    -Returning Adelaide’s 5pm service to Adelaide, in a new studio.
    -Reviving local weekend and public holiday news, with the current national bulletin becoming Sydney’s weekend news.
    And most importantly- promote the news service. Half of 10’s problems lie in underpromotion. Had 10’s news been promoted during Masterchef, more viewers may have wanted to try 10’s news.

  13. Good move by channel Ten, though two and a half hours of news does seem like a lot. I just hope this new ‘current affairs’ show will be just that – current affairs. The crap that Seven and Nine call “current affairs” are Not current affairs, they are sensationalised advertisements. Put some effort into detail news coverage of issues that actually matter to people and you will get yourself an enviable reputation for ‘quality’ news and hopefully the ratings will follow …

  14. If this eventuates, that’s going to be an awful lot of news.

    Oh, and Marty- Neighbours can’t be a “lame copy” of Home and Away – Neighbours started in 1985 – it’s actually three years older than Home and Away.

  15. I’m just hoping that Jennifer Byrne’s integrity as a journalist doesn’t get washed away again by the usual torrent of ratings chasing trash commercial networks pass off as current affairs.

  16. I like Jennifer Byrne.

    But we don’t need another current affairs program! *eye roll*

    And I can’t really see ch 10 moving ‘neighbours’ no matter how bad the ratings.

    just my 2cents worth 😉

  17. Ten stop copying 9 & 7, I liked how you were so different with your programming I love watching Simpsons at 6pm, this 2 and a half hours of news crap is a bunch of bull s–t , if someone really wants to watch 2 and a half hours of news they can just watch ABC News 24 and who cares about local news it’s all just crime and community service crap, so here is a note for Ten, Keep news at 5 (1/2 an hour with nation news and 1/2 and hour of local news), keep Simpsons at 6, Cancel Neighbours and give it to the UK because it’s just so predictable and a copy of home and away and replace it with whatever and then everything will be perfect.

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