There continues to be discussion about the slim figures for The 7PM Project, which last night fared at a disappointing 764,000.
On radio, online and in print the word “axe” is being frequently associated with the show. While last night wasn’t the lowest the show has taken (that was Friday at 656,000), it isn’t a great start to the week. Generally speaking, Mondays are a big night when regular shows attract their best following. It also lost viewers from Neighbours, at 868,000.
And while we’re on the subject, it was also beaten by Two and a Half Men & Home and Away in 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54. That’s where it will really hurt.
But calls for it to be axed are misreading the state of play.
TEN knows this is a new show, that has to find its feet. More importantly, it needs this one to work. The alternative of resorting to more US sitcoms or some other repeat programme is a far bigger problem, because it means the network has to go back to the drawing board to commission another replacement somewhere along the line. It already did that after Taken Out.
The show is also still developing its format. Last night it allowed swimmer Liesl Jones to stay longer as a guest (including beyond a commercial break). Kitty Flanagan, who impressed on her first appearance last week, returned. Charlie Pickering was also added to voice-overs.
Today programmer David Mott is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying, “We are invested in this program and will allow it to build its audience rather than taking it straight off air before it finds an audience.”