TEN about to cut the Biggest Loser fat

2014-04-11_1512This Sunday TEN screens its two-hour finale for The Biggest Loser, staggeringly scheduled out of official ratings survey.

TEN moved the show from its former plan to run it across two nights, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, to avoid clashing against The Block. It seemingly rolled over replacing it with Jamie & Jimmy’s Food Fight Club which landed last in its slot on Wednesday.

On Sunday Loser presumably has a bit more oxygen, against Sunday Night and a replay of David Attenborough on Nine. Out of survey the show will have no impact on end of year shares for TEN and Winner Announced figures will, presumably, be absent from annual lists of the network’s best-performing shows.

Yesterday TEN CEO Hamish McLennan indicated the network’s entertainment schedule was under-performing, and today identified Loser as an “ageing” domestic franchises -no surprises there.

“Some of the franchises that rode off the back of Sochi like The Biggest Loser are getting towards the end of their life cycle, and much of the content was in the can nine months ago, so we have to run it out,” he told The Australian.

But time for a little more perspective…

The Biggest Loser was filmed 9 months ago in Ararat because it was initially intended to run in the back half of 2013, just as Nine has been aired dual seasons of shows in the same calendar year. It was never intended to be the flagship February version, but was rescheduled by the network.

TEN also did the show few favours by allowing it to run at 7:30pm against The Block and My Kitchen Rules. Barring a miraculous re-think or change in fortunes, TEN is in now in danger of making the same mistake with MasterChef post-Easter.

With the figures for Loser this year, McLennan is right to view the show as having hit fatigue. That happens to most shows and there are few local Reality shows that have reached 9 seasons. Australian Idol had 8. Big Brother had 8 + 1 celebrity version before being successfully revived by Nine. Dancing with the Stars is an exception at 13.

So of course fatigue has set in. Criticism about the show’s approach to crash-course weight-loss have also gathered over the years. Romantic behind the scenes stories have been a challenge for Publicity.

But while Loser will likely depart our screens on Sunday it isn’t necessarily the end for the brand. Indeed rival networks are both understood to have circled the format at various times. Nine even offered up Excess Baggage from FremantleMedia, previous producers of Loser. It was shunted to multichannels before the start of the ratings season. Nine has enough depth of programming to shuffle the deck to weather those situations. TEN, on the other hand, must resort to Jamie Oliver or pulling shows from multichannels (Blue Bloods) to cover programming potholes.

So as contestants swan down a 9 month old catwalk on Sunday night sporting their own fabulous makeover, it remains to be seen if TEN and Shine Australia can makeover the show in a few years’ time.

Pass me the dessert treats.

The Biggest Loser finale aires 6:30pm Sunday on TEN.


  1. @alvar – I don’t think your view is necessarily the view of the average punter. You personally may not want more reality, but the rest of Australia seem to crave it. Puberty Blues and Secrets and Lies have tanked on 10. Even top-shelf dramas (eg Rake on 2) haven’t done that well in comparison to the Block and MKR.

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