Humble game-show Letters and Numbers has been axed by SBS.
The 6pm show starring host Richard Morecroft, wordsmith David Astle and mathemetician Lily Serna, is being replaced by its UK equivalent, Countdown. Both were based on the long-running French show Des chiffres et des lettres.
On the show’s official website SBS advises, “SBS has made a decision to rest Letters and Numbers and develop other programs so we can continue to offer new, great content to our audiences. The last episode will be transmitted on June 27.”
Lily Serna, who has become something a cult star, is working on a new show with SBS, Destination Flavour.
When it began in mid 2010 the show was the first-ever commission for Shine Australia as a low-cost strategy to give World News Australia a lead-in. Often the show is in the top 3 nightly shows for SBS. On Thursday it pulled 130,000 viewers.
For some time has been produced in-house by rights-holder SBS, bringing down the cost of the show even more. Now SBS will replace it with the UK version, presumably saving on more costs. But the move may damage the SBS spirit with viewers, axing a local product for a cheaper import.
On Twitter last night fans were shocked:
Is it true that SBS has cancelled Letters & Numbers??? No!!! That’s my favourite show.
Can’t believe SBS cancelled Letters & Numbers. WHAT WILL LILY DO NOW? #favouriteshow
Shattered that @SBS have cut ‘Letters & Numbers’. Goodbye, Lily Serna, my one true television love.
Spicks & Specks, GNW, TAYG, Letters & Numbers… Nice, fun, light entertainment shows where no-one cries over cakes and bricks are dying.
Oh noes, it’s true. No more Letters & Numbers. But SBS will run countdown instead http://on.fb.me/NqaHpK I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FEEL ABOUT THIS
Fiona Scott-Norman @FScottNorman
#LettersAndNumbers cancelled. Ridiculous decision. It’s surely the cheapest show on tv, and it’s gentle, intelligent and charming. Dumb call
Boo hiss #sbs #letters&numbers