On Sunday night Seven fasttracks the newest series of The Amazing Race on 7mate.
As a show that had previously featured in a 7:30 primetime slot on its main channel, the shift to the digital channel makes it one of the most high profile first run shows on 7mate.
Programmer Angus Ross tells TV Tonight it was a case of not wanting to keep fans waiting.
“The schedule on our main channel was full and there were no slots opening up. With 7mate being on a bit of a charge, particularly with younger demographics that the US version of Amazing Race tends to attract, we thought it made sense in this instance,” he says.
“Viewers of Amazing Race don’t like to wait for this show and we know that. So this gets it on air in a timely manner.
“But the reality is these digital channels are growing. Why shouldn’t a show like Amazing Race be on 7mate?”
Since launching in September, 7mate has been puling significant figures for Seven. It also features new episodes of Family Guy and American Dad.
Placing The Amazing Race into a 6:30pm Sunday slot strategically gives the channel a shot in the arm on the first night of the ratings week.
“We like having a strong start to the week on all our channels whether it be 7TWO, 7mate or the main channel. Looking across all the Free to Air channels we felt that timeslot was wide open for this programme to go in there and it flows through nicely to the rest of the channel for the night,” says Ross.
The 18th season of the hit series returns a number of former racers including the Cowboys, Kynt & Vyxen and Kisha & Jen. As if part of an ideal season launch, the first episode even sees US contestants racing through Sydney.
Seven is also promoting the show so that viewers don’t confuse it as simply a repeat season.
“We have a strong promo push on 7mate but also on the main channel as well. We promote all our shows on all our channels depending on what we feel is the priority. There is a heavy promo campaign across 7mate and Seven because this is an important show for us, particularly as we head into a little show coming up in Amazing Race Australia.”
But not all viewers have access to digital channels, either for lack of upgrading their televisions and set top boxes, while 7mate is also not yet available to Foxtel satellite subscribers.
Ross says the show will be available via Plus7 and hints at a later rerun on the main channel.
“I reckon we will end up doing an Encore on the main channel somewhere but it won’t be in as timely a manner as 7mate. Maybe a weekend daytime a week or two later,” he says.
Meanwhile the network is excited about The Amazing Race Australia, hosted by Grant Bowler.
The Australian Race starts at the MCG with 11 teams of 2 and travels to 12 countries on 4 continents.
Ross remains coy on the finer detail of the show, including the prize money.
“That hasn’t been revealed, but it is going to be a substantial amount,” he says.
“I have seen the first episode and it’s pretty stunning. It’s done on a very big scale.”
The Amazing Race airs 6:30pm Sundays on 7mate.