Axed: But what about that Gladiators prize?

Check the small print Kalani & Taylah. 10 has officially killed off your series prize.

Blind Freddy knew Gladiators would not be returning to 10, plummeting in viewing in its second episode from a substantial summer audience of 395,000 metro viewers for its premiere, to only 196,000 for the second episode.

It soon became one of those shows on TV’s “no decision” network lists.

Fast-forward 4 months later and we have clarity that it will not be returning.

A Network 10 spokesperson told BandT: “Network 10 loves trying innovative things and although Gladiators was promoted, publicised and marketed heavily and hosts, Beau and Liz, along with the Gladiators, did a stellar job, it just didn’t resonate with audiences. It won’t be returning in 2025.”

It’s good to get clarity, I suppose, although you gotta feel for the two series winners, Kalani & Taylah, whose prize was becoming official Gladiators in a 2025 season. Check the small print, I guess?

What would also be good to get clarity on is why the series failed.

It’s been a big fat hit in the UK where it screened weekly, not stripped mercilessly at 90 minutes in a COVID-like arena where the audience was nowhere to be seen. Gladiators strikes me as a fail in terms of stripped commission, and in terms of production execution. Sure that’s easy to say from the comfort of my couch, but lessons need to be learned.

In February I asked Paramount’s Dan Monaghan why a big crowd tuned in but did not come back.

“On Gladiators, we had a strong launch, but the audience fell away by night 2 more than we’d hoped and we made swift changes to get toward Survivor in Q1 quicker. The competition didn’t change from night 1 to night 2, so I can’t speak to why they didn’t have come back. Our Gladiators were so well cast, and Liz and Beau excellent hosts, sadly the series just didn’t maintain performance.”

Four months later I hope there is now at least some clarity within 10 on why it failed.

19 Responses

  1. It makes me so mad and so sad at the same time how our Stations feel the need to change the formats of successful overseas productions such as Masked Singer, Traitors etc. and make them fail. Ugh so frustrating!

  2. Ah yes Who Dares Wins… now that’s a format I’d like to see brought back for a one-night-a-week play through however I fear that it will be overly stylised and stripped of its rawness… as all reality seems to be these days. It’s what made that show excellent… it wasn’t show-y, Mike Whitney never showboated… it was just straight up people earning some cash by doing random things. My fave parts weren’t the big dare each episode… it was always the $50 dares that entertained me.
    The first season of the Mole with the incomparable Grant Bowler was so raw… it felt seedy and like you were watching it all unfold without the constant talking heads that recap each moment that you literally just watched to stretch out more time. It will never be returned to the way it was originally. It’s also why I love Bake-Off Aus on Foxtel… no talking heads as the bake is happening, just straight up watching the contestants do their thing unfiltered. That’s what I think reality is missing these days.

  3. I was wondering with the recent US upfronts when was the last year the Aussie networks generally had a schedule with nightly programming, rather than stripped programming changing every few months?

    The interest was obviously there with the premiere figure, but the product wasn’t. Scheduling it against the Aussie Open was incredibly dumb and having no audience even dumber.

    I don’t think it necessary needs to be weekly but if it’s stripped they need to be a bit clever about it. Having two heats and a qualifier between the winners of those heats each week could have worked, then each of the weekly winners returning in a finals week with two semi finals and the final.

  4. Good on TEN for giving Gladiators a go. And I really liked it watching it too. Beau and Liz did a great job as hosts. If TEN want to try again with something similar, maybe try taking Australian Ninja Warrior from Nine.

  5. As I stated in the original review at the final episode what a fantastic prize to be a Gladiator on the next series for a programme that was not going to be renewed.I feel sorry for the contestants and Gladiators who were hurt for nothing.

  6. They put a sports entertainment show up against entertaining sports (tennis) as an alternative? They marketed the show as a kids show, even with a silly warning not to try at home, and then aired a bloated 90 minute show starting at 7.30pm (so they could air the project at 7pm, a known ratings black hole). Gladiators was a master class in clueless promotion, changing release dates, silly behind the scenes nonsense instead of just focusing on the games, and ridiculous stripped schedule in the dead of summer. This is a comedy of errors 10 repeat time and time again, and continually throw their hands up and say “we don’t know what went wrong”

  7. Two major issues stick out.
    1. It was repetitive. Each night there should have been different challenges, especially if its on every night.
    2. The crowd. This is a show that needs the crowd. It needs people holding signs, it needs the dancers, it needs the gladiators interacting with the crowd, pumping them up. And this was just not here.

  8. The 90s is long gone. Not the same without Kimberley Joseph, Aaron Pederson and Mike Hammond. Was great when paired in Channel 7’s program schedule with Who Dares Wins.

  9. My guess is, the fans who returned to watch it didn’t get that 90s nostalgia. I was 12 when the og series started and on Minday the school playground became our gladiator arena. I didn’t watch the reboot, because, 1 the over kill promo was annoying. Liz Ellis is great, but annoying. The biggest reason it failed, it’s a weekly show, 1 hour, not 90 minutes every night. For some reason we are forced to watch mist reality shows every night or other 3 or 4 nights, no one wants that, except the boomers who are retired with nothing to do, Gladiators isn’t a show mist boomers would watch.

    1. Didn’t no this was on during to day when retired boomers were home. Thought they would have scheduled it for peak viewing the majority watch TV

      1. Retired boomers are home all the time, my point being, if it was once a,week, people would likely come back for more as opposed to watching every night so you don’t miss anything. It’s why streaming is so popular watch as much as you want or don’t want.

  10. I personally felt it was aired in the wrong part of the year. Summer time everyone is out and about doing their thing. In the UK they aired theirs in the winter months and I think that’s where 10 got it wrong.

    1. To be fair the UK viewing market is a completely different beast to Australia. They are a nation that will happily watch snooker, darts and antiquing shows on an evening and some of there biggest rating shows are on a Saturday evening. They have far fewer commercials on commercial tv and the average series of a scripted drama or comedy is only about 6 episodes. yet they will have panel comedy shows like Have i Got News For You which is currently in its 66 season over 34 years. Worlds apart from Australian tv trends.

  11. “10 loves trying innovative things” and the fact they think reviving something from the 90s that’d already had one failed revival – with, deliberately, the grandeur and the variety of games between episodes that both previous versions had had removed – was in any way innovative is the problem.

  12. Why it failed? Simples – Network 10 has zero understanding on how to take a successful format overseas and recreate it. They basically make the same show over and over again. One needs to take a look at The Amazing Race Australia – that show takes everything great about Amazing Race and throws it away, to make a show bloated by 30 episodes, replacing it with the same elements you see in the Gladiators reboot, ‘jokes’ ‘backstory’ ‘repeating the same shot over and over and over’ and disastorous editing.

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