“The devastation was not the cancellation, it was being cut from the musical number.”

Former Pointless host Mark Humphries says his show was oddly axed twice by 10, during its ten month run, including just before the network Upfronts a year ago.

Humphries and co-presenter Andrew Rochford were due to perform in a network musical number at the annual Upfronts, but a decision to end the show saw them dropped from the show number.

Speaking to podcast What Shall We Do About? he said, “It was actually axed twice. The first time Andrew and I were at a big fundraising event for a group called You Can, a youth council fundraiser from the Sony Foundation.

“We found out just as we arrived at the event and so yeah, that was a hard thing to take.

“The biggest thing that bothered me was about a week later we were supposed to be at Channel 10’s Upfronts.

“Andrew and I were supposed to be in this big opening musical number. And I love musicals! So there was this whole section where Osher would sing a verse, then Chris Brown, Julia Morris Pete Helliar, Amanda Keller.

“I would get to be part of this big number. As a TV fan as someone who watched the Logies every year for better for worse, I loved the idea.”

Humphries said the bad news came after having been to a recording studio for the musical number.

“It was like, ‘Guys, ratings are not doing well enough. We’re not going to be continuing with the show, which means we don’t need you for that musical number.’ So the devastation for me was actually not the cancellation, it was being cut from the musical number.

“We had to go to the Upfront knowing full well that we wouldn’t be coming back. So it was not a fun event for us.

“And then about a week later, our ratings went up just enough, for 10 to go, ‘You know what, we’re going to do another 65 episodes!'”

Pointless ran from July 2018 to May 2019, with 2019 Upfronts taking place last October.

“The second time it was cancelled I was actually at the ABC filming a sketch for 7:30 and I got a phone call.

“The ratings had been coming close to 200,000. I think that day it had gone to 196. I think that must have been the magic number… if you go below it that’s it.

“I think we were told, ‘We’re going to shoot 10 episodes next week and then that’s it.'”

But while Humphries would have liked the show to have been trialled in a later slot, he was also very pragmatic about the realities of making television.

“We’re so lucky to have this opportunity, let’s make the best thing we can while we’ve got it. It’s a privilege to be in this position.”

Yesterday 10 moved on Pointless‘ successor, Celebrity Name Game, bumping it to multichannel 10 BOLD after ratings had sunk lower than Humphries’ show.

You can hear more at What Shall We Do About?


  1. Have I really been mourning the loss of Pointless for 12 months? Still miss it and would have loved to see Ten experiment with slots, celebrity prime time editions etc. It’s a bit of a dagger through the heart to know taking it off was all in vein given the ratings for Celebrity Name Game. Surely SBS’s Mastermind was the real winner – I’m sure I am not the only one who started tuning in because I was looking for something challenging again!

  2. I quite enjoyed Pointless, but I found it strange that the prizes were so pitiful. All this fanfare only to reveal a couple of hundred dollars of prize money. It was so bad it made Thinktank’s perspex brain trophy look desirable.

    • I find all this talk about the prize money so interesting. What is the appeal for a viewer at home for big prizes? It’s not like we get a share! Genuinely curious why this matters to some people. Hard Quiz has been a bit of a ratings juggernaut and they only play for a big brass mug!

  3. What would be good is if Channel 10 could do a high budget game or quiz show. I remember shows like Greed and Jeopardy. These seemed to work well with viewers.I also think Channel 10 need to find another host to host shows other than Grant all the time, he is a good host but think he should stick to just his two shows.

  4. I agree with the full hour later timeslot debate. It makes sense now knowing they knew they had been axed then had a 65 ep order. It was very relaxed and seemed to have found its groove towards the end there. Shame it didn’t find enough of an audience. That said, this show isn’t one where you love instantly compared to others.

  5. Maev....Sydney

    I watched Celeb name game….but some nights Grant gets a little too OTT and I have to turn off…bit hard to deal with all that exuberance at dinner time…I wont be watching at all now…sorry…
    I did like Pointless…the rapport between the two young men really worked…which surprised me….’cause sometimes I found Mark a little hard going…in other appearances of different channels.

  6. What irks me is that Ten later admitted Pointless was the wrong show for their market. And then they commission Celebrity Name Game. Are you kidding me? I only watched one episode, but what a load of absolute crap. And waaaay over produced. It’s a shame Pointless wasn’t commissioned by the ABC like it should have been (and without the comedic element that Ten tried to inject for commercial television).

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