3AW has reported that Seven has axed its police drama City Homicide.
The series in its fourth season has been challenged by a slip in audiences and tough competition in the 8:30pm Wednesday timeslot.
This week it pulled 1.03m viewers against The Big Bang Theory 1.18m, second in its timeslot. When it previously aired in its original Monday slot it was pulling figures around 1.8m viewers. Back in 2007 it had less competition from rival local dramas.
Last year the show also screened on Sunday nights.
Noni Hazlehurst recently spoke to TV Tonight about the challenges for the show when it was moved around the schedule, including with late starts.
“There are a lot things impacting on figures, but I don’t think shifting timeslots helps,” she insists.
“I truly believe once something is working in a timeslot you do not move it. But that’s not my decision to make.
“People like reliability. It’s not easy to change viewing habits and I think people get annoyed.”
It isn’t just the changes from Monday to Sunday to Wednesday that factor into the equation, either.
“I personally would like to see it start at 8:30 too but that’s not my call. That’s a decision made for a number of reasons,” she says.
The show has surely boasted a strong cast including Shane Bourne, Nadine Garner, Damien Richardson, David Field, Aaron Pedersen, more recently adding John Adam, Nadia Townsend, and Ryan O’Kane. But since its launch more police procedurals have joined the TV landscape including TEN’s Rush and Nine’s COPS L.A.C. In addition Nine now has its emergency drama Rescue Special Ops. The net result is that TV audiences are showing fatigue with the policing genre.
Unlike its competitors, City Homicide‘s premise has also seen it boxed in by its whodunnit premise, denied the opportunity to explore wider policing issues. This season it began to add more personal stories for its key characters as a way to compensate.
Meanwhile Seven has been expanding its drama slate, including the development of Winners and Losers under producer Maryanne Carroll, who left City Homicide to helm the new series which will air in 2011. The series had changed hands to new producer Richard Jasek this year.
The loss of City Homicide is significant, and follows the end of All Saints last year.
While Seven can boast an embarrassment of local drama riches with Packed to the Rafters, Home and Away and Winners and Losers, City Homicide was still able to deliver in stories and performances.
Seven is yet to respond to enquiries from TV Tonight.
UPDATE: Seven has now confirmed that principal photography on Series Four will wrap on November 12th.
A decision on the production of Series Five will be made in the new year.
Director of Programming and Production, Tim Worner said: “City Homicide is a gripping drama that has continued to improve and develop through each of its 84 episodes.
“In the days of old, its renewal would have been a no brainer.”
City Homicide will remain in Channel Seven’s prime time schedule until the end of the current ratings period with a six part mini series titled “No Greater Honour” guest starring Claire Van Der Boom, Marcus Graham, John Howard, and Graeme Blundell to air in 2011.
“But in this multi channel environment these decisions are not as clear cut as they once were.”