Fairfax is speculating that ABC may move 7:30 amid suggestions that Lateline is in its “death throes” after ongoing cuts to its budget.
It suggests ABC could move 7:30 to ABC News with a later replay on the primary channel, which is effectively what happens with Lateline in a later playout.
Under that plan it could screen at 9:30, the article suggests.
An unnamed ABC employee suggests, “There has been talk about moving 7.30. It bounces around. Nothing is sacred and nothing is safe. That is the reality.”
However it offers no good oil on what ABC would do at 7:30 in its place. Quite frankly ABC is struggling to fill its 8pm slots on some nights, opting for repeats of QI or The Checkout. And can anybody name their Friday 8pm show? Not me.
I can’t imagine it would want to create new commissioning headaches unless it plans to get into new light entertainment shows.
But there is another option: offering its own version of The Project.
Some weeks ago ABC denied a suggestion by Pauline Hanson that ABC had offered millions to hijack The Project from TEN. No such deal was offered, they insisted, which sounds correct (and the show is not for sale in any case).
But her comments did reflect what many have known for some time. ABC wants more younger viewers and it sees a show like The Project as a natural fit to get them. Were it to offer such a format of its own, it could even opt for a one hour version, effectively solving the 8pm problem in one fell swoop.
The options are multiple, including Lateline going and 7:30 staying put, for that matter.