Reef Doctors couldn’t service MasterChef, says McCune.

2013-06-20_0010Lisa McCune has spoken out about TEN moving Reef Doctors after just one episode.

“We were in a timeslot that had to service MasterChef,” she said. “We didn’t deliver numbers to MasterChef and that’s television,” she told Fairfax.

“But you can’t leave it there if it’s not doing the numbers because you’ve got MasterChef behind you, which is a juggernaut.”

“It’s part of those reality shows which are juggernauts and they can’t be seen to be being damaged.”

But she also criticised the decision to dump in into a dead-zone timeslot.

“I don’t think at 9.30 on a Friday night it will find it’s children, the family audience we really want,” she said, “I think that’s the audience for us.”

TEN did not directly answer a question from TV Tonight last week whether it still expected a family audience in the Friday night timeslot.

“I had a tough week last week because I thought, ‘this is such a bugger that a beautiful show like Reef Doctors, which really does deserve an airing, it won’t play where it’s going to be utilised to its best ability’,” McCune said.

The second episode will air at 9:30pm tomorrow night.


  1. This weekend I saw both eps of Reef Doctors (one online). I found them very enjoyable. I enjoyed watching the show because it reminded me of others shows such as ‘Wild at Heart’, with a good mix of drama.

    I think it would be better suited to 7.30pm on a Saturday, when shows with a similar style are usually shown in Australia.

  2. TasTVcameraman

    I must say that I thought the second show was better than the first and I think it would be better as a half hour show than an hour. It seems that they have to pad the action (or lack of action) out to fill in the hour.
    The one last night would have been a really good half hour show…….in my opinion.

  3. oh well Lisa, theres always the overseas market. I’m assuming its being offered or already sold to other countries. And i’m pretty certain it will do well overseas, ok maybe not prime time stuff but a nice earner. They love anything shot in Australia with pretty scenery & animals etc in it, even if the characters & dialogue are cliches, in fact that probably makes it more appealing to them, put another shrimp on the barbie mate!

  4. @Pertinax
    NCIS:LA only rated 262,000. Reef Doctors at least had 357,000.
    Reef Doctors could have done a lot better with Offspring as a lead-in, As would NCIS:LA following NCIS.

  5. 6:30pm Saturday Ten Attenborough as a lead-in the Rugby this Winter.

    Reef Doctors is like kids TV but is is PG rated so it can’t be screened as children’s programming.

    6:30pm Sunday was the only slot and Merlin worked there. They tried Reef Doctors but it failed to compete against The Block and Sunday Night and provide a lead-in to Masterchef.

  6. Clearly the problem is so much of their family friendly timeslots are tied up with ‘event’ tv like Masterchef. Leaves everything else no chance. Even 6.30pm on Saturday nights would have been better than burying on a Friday, surely?

  7. So how long before the networks stop airing a new show when the first commercial break starts because not enough viewers are watching!

  8. daveinprogress

    Waste of good talent, money and chance to showcase our locations and storytellers. And i’m referring to Ten’s burial of the show.

  9. McCune is right to be annoyed. It is a sweet show that gets better as it rolls along and is perfectly aimed for the family market. Saturday evening or even early Sunday would be better than burying this at 9.30 on a Friday. David, this has to rate as one of the most stupid decisions Ten has made this year – and that list is already pretty long.

  10. Of course she will say that when she is the one that produced the show. Just trying to make excuses when the reality is it’s a poor show that no one is interested in. Ten have been churning out dramas like this for 20 years now and it all started with things like Medivac/Big Sky and this show is no different.

    You want a good show set on an island? The mystery and intrigue of Fantasy Island would serve us better than this. Maybe she could have got a few ideas from that instead.

  11. It’s understandable that Lisa is upset because her show has bombed, but her reasons for its failure are a little over the top. Reef Doctors, at best, is only daytime quality kids television along the lines of Lightning Point, H2O etc. IMO it has no right to be shown during prime time. An actress with her credentials would surely be aware of this, then again, maybe not, as she referred to Masterchef as a juggernaught, Sorry Lisa, it once was, but no more.

  12. carolemorrissey

    Yeah, 9.30 on a Friday night is a stupid time. Do they really think it will rate better in that time slot? The idea of moving a show not rating well is to find a time when it will rate better not worse.

  13. @Daniel
    Conroy introduced a local content quota for secondary channels but it is a separate system.

    The still have a 55% local content quota for the primary channel (though the mix is more flexible) and a 250 drama point quota (on a 3 year average)
    for their primary channel.

    [As far a I understand anyway. I haven’t seen the actual regulations and I’m not sure when they come into effect.]

    They won’t move Reef Doctors to 6:30pm Sunday it found no audience there. And if it did find an audience it would be taking viewers away from Modern Family, the lead-in to Masterchef.

    @J Bar
    Because NCIS LA rates more.

  14. What’s wrong with Saturday on the main channel. It’s not like they have anything else. It’s perfect fare up against ABC’s Saturday offerings. They rate alright!
    Then at least my kids could see it play out.

  15. I can’t understand why Ten didn’t just move this to 6:30pm Sundays on ELEVEN.

    Drama points still count on the multichannels don’t they?

  16. Why didn’t they air on Wednesday night after Offspring? Instead we had a repeat of NCIS LA which really isn’t a good lead-out. It could have worked in the slot following another Aussie drama. Ten programmers just have no idea. They will now screen it after an NCIS repeat on Fridays. WTF? They never gave this show a fair go at success in the first place. The promotions before its first airing were hopeless and for the second airing are non-existent.

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