EXCLUSIVE: Channel Nine has axed Ben Elton Life from Planet Earth after just three episodes.
A fourth show will not go to air next week.
The live comedy show started out with just 455,000 viewers but dropped to 384,000 last week. Last night a delayed show airing at the later time of 10:40pm against coverage of the NZ earthquake managed 189,000.
It follows disappointing reviews for the show which was one of the network’s bold moves and part of its re-branding as “The Home of Comedy.”
Elton, whose previous achievements include writing Blackadder and The Young Ones, had stressed the show needed time to develop.
Addressing criticism the show was ‘too smutty’ he recently told TV Tonight, “You get no previews, you get no second shots and I think for a first show we did bloody well and if we were a bit rude then fair enough, ok, I’m sorry.”
Nine Entertainment Co. CEO David Gyngell recently said of the Elton show, “We continue to support local and international comedy, and it’s always better to chance you arm and have a go than to take the safe way out and do nothing.”
The show was produced by FremantleMedia Australia.
UPDATED: A Nine spokesperson said: “Ben and his team have done a fantastic job uncovering new Australian talent and we appreciate all of their hard work and dedication. We are all very proud of the show but unfortunately it has not found the audience we had hoped for. We thank Ben and all the cast and crew for their commitment and wish them all the best.”
Michael Healy, Director of Television said: “Comedy is always risky, and live comedy is the riskiest of all. We are pleased to have taken the chance to support the local industry.”
Ian Hogg, CEO of FremantleMedia Australia, said: “We have immense respect for Ben. Through our development deal, we look forward to some exciting comedy and drama projects in the future.”