In just a few short months you’ve gone from being deputy chairman of Prime Media to acting CEO of Ten Network Holdings. What a ride. And to be fair, none of us saw that one coming.
With James Packer (the bloke you had One.Tel with) and the obvious support of the majority of the Board, we’re now awaiting your next move.
We know you’re the good-looking Murdoch, although the lovely Elisabeth nearly out-Shines you. You’re married to the equally lovely Sarah (and a tip to TEN production crews check your audio feed is working or risk losing your contract) and you love your NRL and IPL.
But what is it you have in mind for TEN now that Mr. Falloon and Mr. Blackley are both effectively out of the picture?
TEN has had so many wonderful shows over the years. We grew up with The Young Talent Time, Prisoner, Good Morning Australia (both of them), The Early Bird Show, Wonder World, Carson’s Law, Neighbours, Perfect Match, The Comedy Company, and The Simpsons.
Then there was Rove, Big Brother and Australian Idol when Sunday nights were must-see TV. Remember Merlin telling Gretel to “Free the Refugees?” Remember Guy Sebastian singing “Climb Every Mountain” or Anthony Callea singing “The Prayer?” Remember “What The?” and “My Charader?” Remember Melrose Place “Tuesday Night’s a Bitch?” Remember The Panel?
They were fun times, Lachlan, even if sometimes they were a little hokey. The fun was that you never quite knew what might happen next because TEN always took a risk. Let’s not forget they were the first to dump the Sunday night movie, the first to say “dammit we’re gonna strip a cooking show in primetime,” and the first to say “we’re sticking with The 7PM Project and bugger the lot of you.”
More recently they’ve taken some risks with a dedicted Sports channel. I’m not especially into Sport but Lachlan I’m confused… why is it playing shows about logging, trucking and mining? What’s The Manchurian Candidate got to do with Sport?
And then there is the News experiment.
Like 7PM, a move of this magnitude will probably take a year to bed in. Many people have said they admire that George Negus is not going down the road of Today Tonight and A Current Affair, but there is debate over the suitability of the content to the timeslot. Numbers would suggest you have bigger problems with the 6:30 News (and why did you take Sandra Sully away from the rest of the country -we grew up with Sandra too). And moving the weekend News from 5pm to 6pm? Why?
I have no idea how you will meet your drama quota with 13 episodes each of Rush and Offspring. I enjoy both shows, but really….. I know there is more in the pipeline (including Inside Out), but we’ll be in March soon. Are you buying more NZ shows, or picking up more Aussie movies? Please explain.
I’m quite partial to some of the shows on ELEVEN: Dexter (if only I hadn’t seen it on Pay TV already), Nurse Jackie, Californication and The Simpsons -but honestly Lachlan, I don’t think I’ve seen a new Simpsons episode since your launch week.
And why are we moving all these shows around lately? Please make up your mind where The Good Wife, House, Glee, Modern Family, NCIS: LA and Lie to Me belong. We have lives to organise y’know? Better yet, just take Lie to Me off altogether.
On a positive note The Circle can sometimes be a breath of fresh air. That Chrissie Swan cuts right through the TV screen. Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation is consistent fun (yes, give Micallef a chat show too), and The 7PM Project has settled into a nice groove. MasterChef remains addictive TV.
TEN has always been the underdog of the three commercials, but hey, that’s exactly why we’ve liked it.
The other two have always brawled over prestige and then along comes TEN with bold ideas and those crazy promos with celebrities sitting around in a rehab circle. It takes nerve to go out on a limb like that. I’m not really sure if 2.5 hours of News was nerve or which focus group said it was a good idea, but I sure hope the Board hasn’t lost it’s nerve too. I know yesterday was probably a bit of power play, but hey, these are my shows you’ll be playing with, Lachlan.
There’s a bunch of other things I could throw in but let me leave you with one more thought: please pick up the phone to Hamish and Andy before it’s too late.
KINDLY LEAVE YOUR OWN “DEAR LACHLAN NOTE BELOW.”