ABC’s mixed messages on Please Like Me
ABC moves Please Like Me to 10pm after just one week. But has it ever had a decent timeslot?
ABC is replacing UK series The Musketeers at 8:30pm with a Sherlock replay, which pushes the local comedy to 10pm.
Last week The Musketeers drew 320,000 viewers, while Please Like Me averaged just 129,000 viewers. Despite being a critical hit, the Josh Thomas comedy is yet to attract a popular audience.
But then how can it, when ABC has never given it a decent timeslot across its three seasons?
In its first year the show aired at 9:30pm Thursdays on ABC2 where it averaged 176,000 over 2 episodes. In its second season it was moved to Tuesday nights on the multichannel (known as a comedy destination -not) where it began with 103,000 viewers before dropping to 57,000. That saw some media write the show up as a failure. Numbers wise, it’s hard to argue against that.
After all the award accolades (including AACTAs, Logies, International Emmy, Director’s Guild, Writer’s Guild and Rose D’Or) ABC finally moved it to the primary channel ….in a week where it was over-crowded with new comedies The Ex-PM and Sammy J and Randy in Rickett’s Lane. That left Please Like Me to run Thursdays, but not in the 8:30 slot that had previously been allocated to Upper Middle Bogan.
Despite its M classification, Please Like Me was not given The Chaser’s Media Circus as a natural lead-in, but an historic costume romp in Musketeers.
Why didn’t ABC wait until it had a Wednesday night slot for the show? The answer may lie in producer deals with US cable network Pivot, with ABC necessarily hitched to its US playout whether it liked it or not.
Sure the show is now niche. But while ABC waxes lyrical about its love for the series, it needs to look harder at whether its scheduling has ever allowed the show to put its best foot forward.
An ABC spokesperson said, “We hope the broad appeal of Sherlock will provide a strong lead in, and that the new time slot appeals to the target audience. We remain immensely and steadfastly proud of Please Like Me, a truly wonderful series.”