Why are Reality shows pushed to 90 minutes?

With the return of stripped Reality shows, some readers have been asking why 60 minute shows are being pushed to 90 minutes.

It’s a habit that’s been happening a lot in the Australian market, and certainly isn’t unique to Holey Moley and The Amazing Race Australia.

But the answer comes back to money. The costs to set up two shows is far greater than wringing more content out of one.

Andrew Backwell, Head of Production at Seven tells TV Tonight, “As things have become more expensive you have to try and stretch your big tentpoles to later.

“Not many networks are investing heavily in 8:30 or 9:00 shows. We just don’t have the money to do it.

“In an environment where the opposition is running 90 minutes, it’s very hard not to hit a junction. So you start the show at 7:30 and finishes at 9. If we finish at 8:30 anyone that’s watching the opposition can’t switch the channel.”

The Amazing Race Australia originally ran in a weekly format when it debuted on Seven in 2011. Last week viewers were asked to commit to three consecutive nights, all at 90 minutes each. Tomorrow the show is trimmed back to 60 minutes to make room for Hughesy We Have a Problem.

“So these days if everyone is doing 90, you kind of have to, unless you have a very dominant show,” Backwell suggests.

“Also in terms of advertising costs, it’s much cheaper to do a 90 than just 60, when you’re investing so much money.”

But he is also confident Holey Moley is worth the time investment.

“I think it holds up well because it (whittles) down to a winner,” he insists.

“But it’s a very good point, because we really want kids to watch this, and not to abandon the last half hour.


  1. I always presumed it was simply a strategic move to keep you from changing channel as shows would be half over or you’d miss the last half an hour if you did. Of course with them all doing it it may not make much of a difference anymore. It probably started this way, they found other benefits, & kept going…

    It is quite a big ask already to invest 3-5 nights a week in a reality show, & then on top of that they are 90+ minutes long. Its a lot, but then I find the shows are all over really quickly so it all blurs together. We seem to cycle through too many reality shows really quickly because they air so much of them in such a short period of time. I wouldn’t mind the 90 minute length so much, if it was only one or two episodes a week. But of course I also used to tape The Voice during the week & catch up on the weekend since it’d run too late for me to watch it. When you’re doing…

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