Morrison told Mumbrella: “There has been a shift in the TV industry in Australia, and now we see Seven and Nine with a duopoly position in the market.
“There came a point where the Australian public no longer trusted TEN, and TEN is now competing with subscription TV channels.
“TEN’s relationship with the Australian public has fundamentally shifted,” he added.
His words come in a week when 7:30pm shows MasterChef sank to 411,000 and Glee was just 269,000.
But a TEN spokesperson hit back, saying: “Obviously, the views and opinions of a former TEN employee are not objective or up to date. It’s worth noting that Mike Morrison was only at Network TEN for five months, and he has not worked here for more than eight months.
“We don’t know the context in which Mike Morrison made his comments. But to say TEN has “lost the trust of the Australian public” is absolute nonsense.
“Yes, TEN had some unsuccessful programs last year. But we also had many successful programs, such as Offspring, Modern Family, Homeland, The Biggest Loser, MasterChef Australia, Ten News At Five, The Project, Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms and so on. Already this year we are seeing good results, particularly in our core target market of people 18 to 49, from programs such as Elementary, Africa, NCIS and the Sunday episodes of MasterChef: The Professionals – and the year has only just started.”
But in an unrelated article yesterday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported:
Trust is a powerful thing in television. It can make or break a network. And it can make or break a show.
It may also be the reason that 1.13 million people watched The Last Resort, which has already been axed in the US, and only 792,000 watched Mr and Mrs Murder, which is an original Australian drama.
The difference is that the former is on the Seven Network, whose schedule is enjoying the halo effect of My Kitchen Rules, and the latter is on TEN which is struggling to recover from its worst ratings performance in memory.
In the TV Tonight Awards readers sent some clear messages to the network by slamming the network for mis-management and programming decisions, but still holding the faith for key shows and personalities such as Offspring, The Project, Homeland and The Living Room.
Current ratings show the audience is still sending the network clear messages.
Moves such as the hiring of Paul Henry and Andrew Bolt were departures from the traditional TEN audience. Attempting to re-structure the network with its George Negus-led News and send the youth audience to ELEVEN was a misfire. The axing of The Circle was not easily forgotten while programming flops The Shire, I Will Survive and Everybody Dance Now hit rock bottom.
You don’t need to be a former sales chief to know that TEN’s brand has been in freefall and that spin doctors are earning their keep to stop the shares (both network and financial) from tumbling any further.
Against My Kitchen Rules TEN will languish. After Easter Offspring and The Biggest Loser will return. But then there’s another show called The Voice to contend with.