Honesty still the best TV policy
Admitting defeat, fixing mistakes, listening to the audience -how do TV networks compare when it comes to being candid?
Yesterday TEN admitted defeat on ONE as a 24 hour sports channel, by throwing out much of its programming in favour of more entertainment.
The channel was dragging its feet in shares, despite the network previously telling media it had a bigger audience than all the other sports channels combined.
Yesterday the network was more up front. “ONE’s poor weeknight prime-time ratings were unsustainable” was one of the lines in a statement.
Interim CEO Lachlan Murdoch went as far as to say the network’s half-yearly financial results were “unacceptable.” TEN is even looking to return to its youthful, bold and slightly irreverent self. Hallelujah for that.
These frank admissions also followed the acknowledgment that George Negus wasn’t quite right for 6pm and was moved to 6:30pm. If they can next ditch the late night replay they will just about have this right.
Admitting mistakes takes a lot in this game, but the audience respects honesty.
Last year TEN even conceded it got it wrong when it re-thought Don’t Stop Believing and duly cancelled the show in a massive programming about face. Big call.
I think the TEN audience will respond positively to these recent moves. It will appreciate being heard and that spin is being put aside (although The Bolt Report as a favour to Gina Rinehart may undermine those).
By contrast, how long has it taken Nine to wave the white flag on Charlie Sheen? Forever. The audience was also pretty clear cut after the first night of Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth and Million Dollar Drop. They were also very vocal about wanting Survivor on time. While it’s problems differ wildly from TEN, Nine isn’t yet showing the same sort of honesty with its audience. There’s certainly not much being shown when it comes to the network’s performance so far this year.
Seven, which is boasting a killer start to the year, also isn’t entirely up-front. Live sport? Where do we start? The audience is no longer naive. And while we’re being honest, how about that Packed to the Rafters “season finale” and a clear decision (as promised) on City Homicide? With all the juicy details we’re hearing, Seven had better hope this court case against James Warburton is worth it. It is frequently quick to rush to court (iiNET and TT v ACA two other cases in question) but the audience is watching and mud sticks…
Honesty on Seven’s starting times for their shows would be even better. Why do they let Today Tonight run overtime every night so that every other TV show for the night is late? Don’t they get it?
It really doesn’t matter if you’re a newsreader telling the audience your autocue buggered up, or a network CEO admitting an entire channel needs a re-think -we appreciate the honesty.
This week, TEN got it right.