TEN news boss mulls return to late night news
TEN's News boss Andrew Flannery wants to restore the late night bulletin. But does TEN?
You have to feel for TEN’s News and Current Affairs boss Anthony Flannery.
Recently appointed to the role from TVNZ, he now oversees TEN News, Breakfast, The Bolt Report, The Project, Meet the Press and The Circle -nearly all of which have undergone wholesale changes lately.
Ambitiously, he wanted to return the late-night bulletin to TEN.
It was one of the titles cut by the man who recruited him, Lachlan Murdoch. Fans of the long-running bulletin and Sandra Sully weren’t happy to see it go. But it was enough for SBS to switch its 9:30pm bulletin into 10:30pm.
Now Flannery wants to see it return, but tells The Australian he has a different format in mind.
“We’re ready to roll,” he says. “It won’t be a traditional newsreader-to-camera bulletin. We’re going to value-add and be doing some different things. It’s all about a fresh proposition.
“We need to reinvigorate and rebuild the TEN News brand,” he says. “We can’t just be a peripheral news service. If we are a serious news brand, a serious media company, we’ve got to be providing material and news coverage around the clock.”
But it was just over twelve months ago the network hired a swag of reporters in a bid to be perceived as a serious news outlet. Along with 6pm with George Negus, it ended in tears.
Continual Press Releases from TEN about a lift in its early evening audiences cleverly spin comparisons with numbers from twelve months ago. They aren’t as flash when compared to two years ago.
Flannery also says he wants to get Breakfast to average 100,000 viewers within 12 months. So far it is sitting at around 40,000.
Flannery is right about wanting to restore TEN’s brand. It has been badly damaged by cost cuts, job losses, programme failures and timeslot changes. “Super Sunday” has gone some of the way to rebuilding on this, and MasterChef is its brightest hope so far.
But consistency is its best solution, and that’s no quick fix.
Restoring the late night news (preferably with Sandra Sully & Brad McEwan) would be welcome, especially as it would signal “you were right, we were wrong.”
TV Tonight recently asked Programming Chief David Mott about rumours it might return.
“No truth to the rumour. Our ratings are up double digits since we included general entertainment programming to late night,” he said. “We continue to have a strong commitment to news with Breakfast, TEN First at Five and The Project. That’s 5 hours per day. More than we have ever had before.”