Is it time Network 10 moved entertainment to 7pm Sundays?

It's TV's biggest entertainment slot -so why does 10 still hold back its big shows by thirty minutes in 2024?

On Sunday night Seven and Nine were locked in a TV battle at 7pm with their big reality shows, split by jsut 14,000 viewers.

Meanwhile 10 was screening The Sunday Project trailed by 700,000 viewers, leaving MasterChef Australia to do all the heavy lifting when it began thirty minutes later.

Over the past ten weeks, 10’s Sunday share has trailed behind ABC eight times.

10 has previously commented it wants viewers to know that its big entertainment shows are 7:30 offerings, but viewers on Nine and Seven are clearly educated that weekend start times differ to weeknights.

So why is 10 giving other networks a 30 minute advantage in 2024?

Is it because The Sunday Project runs for an hour? If so, should it consider 30 minutes editions on Sundays, or move to a 6pm start, especially given it runs a 90 minute news service for no discernable reason?

TV Tonight asked three critics fo their views on the topic.

TV Critic Colin Vickery said, “Surely it is time for Channel 10 to rethink its strategy. Seven and Nine decided long ago that it is game-on at 7pm and when their two shows average around 1 million viewers nationally the audience clearly agrees.

“10’s preference for a 7.30pm start feels stuck in the past and the ratings reflect that.

The Sunday Project was crushed by Farmer Wants A Wife and Travel Guides between 7pm and 7.30pm on the weekend just gone. MasterChef Australia was left to play catch-up. Things won’t get any easier when Dream Home comes into the mix.

“Viewers have spoken. 10 needs to listen.”

TV Historian Andrew Mercado agreed.

“It seems bizarre that 10 do whatever Seven and Nine do, but they start every ratings week being different and tanking because of it. Just run The Sunday Project from 6-7pm and be done with it,” he suggested.

But James Manning Editor-in-Chief at Mediaweek was not so quick to call for a revamp.

“10 must have weighed up the ramifications of overhauling their Sunday night schedule times,” he said.

“While it makes sense to start their current 7.30pm programs at 7pm, there would be consequences. The Project remains an import brand at 10 and there would be an impact moving that 6pm where it is head to head with two of the most-watched hours of the week – Seven News Sunday and Nine News Sunday.

“The bigger question around this subject might be where is 10 with The Project and how can it be refreshed if it is to maintain its crucial times slots?”

10 was approached for comment.

Should 10 rethink Sundays and move entertainment to a 7pm start?

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21 Responses

  1. Wasn’t it 10 that originally pioneered having big entertainment shows starting at 7pm? I seem to remember MasterChef getting the jump on Seven and Nine to great success back in the day. Maybe that worked because it was different to everyone else, just like 7:30pm start times now are different to everyone else, and 10 does like to position itself as offering an alternative to the other two commercial networks.

  2. The project is great and so are the hosts imo. Some good laughs lately, particularly when Kate or Cody are guests . Maybe people need to give it another go. I do agree it should be 6-7 Sundays.

    1. I agree, I’m starting to turn to The Project (and Deal or No Deal) just for something light amidst all the heavy 6pm news coverage elsewhere. People really do think it’s all left-wing agenda-based nonsense when half, if not three-quarters, of the time it’s voxpops, social media videos and celebrity interviews. I quite enjoy watching The Project on a Friday especially when Rove is at the helm imo.

  3. I was so surprised 7 started some of its bigger shows at 7pm on Sundays. Not quite sure why this happened.

    I was watching the latest series of Australian idol but was watching the project on 10 too. So was going to flick over to 7 when it finished but found that it had already been going for half an hour. Didn’t really understand that. So it was 7.30 all during the week but then 7.30 on Sundays?

    1. Yeah it’s because there is no Home and Away on the weekend. They go straight into the reality show and then they can get their Spotlight specials starting earlier.

  4. Going against the trend but I think TEN is on the right track. I like the consistency of The Project. In this fragmented industry we are never going have 3 top rating networks and at least Ten offer an alternative. Since they got rid of Carrie and Lisa the show would be much more economical to make, a bit like The Cheap Seats and HYBPA. Do we really want all 3 Networks doing the same thing.

  5. Forget Sunday. All of their entertainment programs should start at 7pm weeknights.

    Get the jump on the opposition with ACA and Home And Away.

    On Monday for example I’d go Masterchef 7.00 – 8.30 with HYBPA 8.30 to 10

  6. The Project, in all its incarnations, has been a hugely expensive dead weight on Ten’s schedule for more than a decade. Everything put around it seems to be diminished by The Project’s presence. It just needs to go and be replaced with literally anything else. I am agnostic about the 7.00pm start on Sundays for all reality programs but do think that all of them showing reality at the same time is going to result in at least one out of three losers.

  7. I totally agree with Roger. We always watched the ABC news on a Sunday and most times follow through with the ABC show at 7.30. with one exception When Australian Survivor is on and if depending on ABC’s offering at 7.30 would swap across. or we would wait until later and pick it up on 10 play. Same will happen for Amazing Race Australia. If they move forward to 7pm it would be solely 10 play.
    My other comment is that 10 is a basket case anyway. It’ would be lucky to rated no.4 at best and some nights SBS has way better offerings.
    The Project should have be shafted years ago – ABC saw the light on the Drum another show that should have been closed down years ago that keep surviving for some strange reason way past its use by date.

  8. For many years now, Channel 10 chop & change programs in its 6-630pm timeslot. We all knew what happened back in 2011-12 period with the News revolution when 10 shuffle news programs. Sadly it never worked.

  9. I stopped watching The Project years ago but have caught the last few minutes (because it always runs over time) when I switch to Ten to watch MasterChef. All I see is a panel of unfunny and unlikeable people talking over each other. Yes get rid of it permanently not just Sundays.

  10. I think your right Channel 10 need to move entertainment to 7pm the project is time to be put it to rest nothing is working for 10 unless they pick up there game now it’s time to all so cut the hour long 10 News at 5pm as well that’s not working much anymore I still watch it they are just wasting money on the project now it’s not worth it 10 don’t even listen to Viewer feedback? They could even can the 5pm news and just keep there Late addition

  11. Ten don’t have a strong lead-in following a 6pm News like 7 and 9. The only thing that have found that sort of works is 1hr of the project 30m later. And starting HYBPA?, The Cheat Seats, NCIS: Sydney at 8:40pm is doing well for them. With the New Summit not doing great they were doing OK on Sunday’s too, but Nine has subbed in Travel Guides. Ten doesn’t care about being the ABC, it doesn’t take revenue from them and they don’t get $1.1b in taxpayer funding. They don’t have The Masked Singer and The Bachelor this year, so may they will have to rethink things after the Masterchef finale. But the truth is slightly more Masterchef viewers while losing other viewers isn’t going be much of a win for them.

  12. I’m surprised the Project is still going. I used to watch it, but then it went to an hour and was too long with too much I didn’t care about. Then after watching enough, I had no reason to ever trust the integrity of the show. It’s entertainment disguised as being left-leaning but supporting all the bad stuff on both ends of the political spectrum.
    I’d be more likely to tune in on Sunday night to that timeslot if they just had double episodes of The Office.

  13. While Ten’s demographic is not exactly the same as those who watch the ABC, perhaps Ten wants to wait until the 7pm news has finished before starting its prime-time entertainment.
    Otherwise, the ABC news watchers might not shift to Ten at 7:30 as the popular Ten show is half way through.

  14. 10 need to let go of The Project. Ive thought for a while they should try to adapt What Would You Do?, a show on ABC in America. Marc Fennell to host. Hopefully it can get some viral clips going.

    Its a long way from when 10 changed Sunday nights back in the 00s with series rather than movies. That was a runaway success.

  15. Every show that follows The Project has to do its own heavy lifting. The Project does not offer anything positive to 10’s 7.30pm offering 6 nights a week. I accidentally flicked over to it for a brief moment several weeks’ back and all hosts were discussing urinating in the shower. Really engaging stuff. Why 10 continue to flog this dead horse at such a critical evening slot is beyond belief.

  16. The Project is not a new issue for Ten. I remember when Amanda Keller was upset after The Living Room endured an uphill battle to attract viewers, airing right after The Project.

    The notion is that The Project is being kept for political reasons only at the expense of other programming, and it could be affecting revenue and ratings. Politics delivered differently, but at what cost?

  17. James is correct – the biggest question is for The Project.

    Ten have some great offerings at 730 – survivor, hunted, TGYH, IAC, MasterChef, the list goes on.

    Why don’t they trim the project at 630 for 30mins and get a head start by running their entertainment at 7pm. Yes ACA and H&A are strong, but not as strong as 730 comp and keeps people appealed to them come the 730 switch.

    I’ve said a few times they need to let the project go and offer something like “the one show” on the BBC in the UK.

  18. You could write a “Why 10” article every day for 6 months. The answer would always be the same.
    There is no accountability at the top, an unwillingness to admit when something isn’t working and a lack of creativity/courage.

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