Axed: First Dates

Once a ratings blockbuster, First Dates has been axed by Seven after 4 seasons.

Despite it being a relatively economic show to produce, it was absent from yesterday’s 2021 Upfronts announcement.

First Dates won’t return,” Director of Production Andrew Backwell tells TV Tonight.

“We’re really concentrating on these big shows that can play multiple nights a week. Farmer has that territory covered, which is relevant for our demographic and has done a really good job. So I think that’s going to be us (done) in the dating space for while.

“It’s tricky these days, when you’ve got an opposition that’s running a stripped reality show four times a week, and you’ve got different shows on a Wednesday. It’s very hard to cut through.”

Director of Programming Angus Ross added, “It’s very hard to justify that sort of expenditure outside of the 7:30 stripped slot.

First Dates won’t stand up in a 7:30 slot for us, unfortunately. Love the format. It has done a good job, but it won’t stand up against the opposition at 7:30.”


  1. What a terrible decision. This is the only dating show I can stomach. It’s relatively inexpensive, doesn’t require 3+ nights of commitment, and the subjects were genuine. Aside from the shoddy editing at times (won’t miss that stupid straw-slurping noise to up the awkwardness) this was the definition of light entertainment. Poor form, 7.

  2. Of all the dating shows, this one seemed to have a higher success rate at matching couples. Loved the Paula Duncan and AJ dates. Although changing the restaurant last season, really ramped up the innuendo and lost a little of the charm.

  3. Oh no, I was hoping this was back. They really didn’t give it a chance last time with putting it on in different time slots each week. It has a diversity and charm the other dating shows lacked. It’s a classic

  4. What a crazy decision. Cheap to produce, incredibly likeable (unlike so many of the dating shows!), another network would be mad to let this format go.

  5. That’s a shame. This is a really light fun and funny show that I often had time for. Thought it would’ve had many seasons left in it yet. Like someone said I hope another network picks it up.

  6. I appreciate that a new C.E.O must get his hands dirty and make some improbable choices, but this one truly doesn’t make sense. First Dates Australia was one of the very first shows part of Seven’s 2016 programming slate. As Mr Knox said in his article, it is inexpensive to make. Unlike The Farmer Wants A Wife, this is a show that has a surfeit of personalities to engage the viewer and make us wanting more. Axing First Dates Australia and The Sydney Weekender is emphatically altering the very fabric which is the Channel Seven DNA.

  7. “We’re really concentrating on these big shows that can play multiple nights a week”… and when those new shows fail to fire you’re left with a gaping hole in your schedule

  8. So they show nothing new later in the evening?

    Their 2021 slate only really includes one show that is designed to be stripped (Big Brother) with everything else really designed to be weekly. They could have taken the risk and provided a varied weekly schedule but they openly admit they basically let Nine dictate their schedule.

  9. One of the very few show I watched on Seven. And sorry Mr Backwell, I won’t be watching Farmer instead. First Dates would be a good format for 10 to pick up, and would suit 10Shake.

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