Today begins the biggest battle for eyeballs since the start of the ratings year.
Nine, Seven and TEN are in an assault on television viewers in an attempt to kick-start the second half of 2012.
The Olympics officially end tomorrow morning Australian time, but the war begins tonight as TEN unleashes Everybody Dance Now.
Nine will be hoping its multi-million dollar investment in the Olympics pays off with its rejuvenated slate. They are hoping the Games will do for them what the Australian Open does for Seven. Is there anybody in the country who doesn’t know that Big Brother, Underbelly: Badness, Howzat, House Husbands are coming? Throw in The Farmer Wants a Wife, Anger Management and Dallas and (as irritating as the promos were) it was a job well done by Nine strategists.
All of this could implode if Big Brother does not fire. There is a huge buzz about the series return, so it will undoubtedly launch well. But as Excess Baggage proved, casting is everything in Reality. Will we want to return to these housemates night after night? Can the show reinvent as a “family friendly” series? No live streaming, no UpLate, no Uncut -Nine is reinventing the series at a huge risk, and the series is a huge production investment.
Elsewhere for Nine Underbelly begins well, Howzat will be a hit, Anger Management is rubbish (unless you thought Two and a Half Men was gold), and The Farmer Wants a Wife: Love Bites will probably go the way of The Celebrity Apprentice: hanging on in an oversaturated Reality market. Dallas will serve a purpose but it’s hardly likely to sustain and Nine has sensibly given this a later timeslot. House Husbands is still too much of an unknown but expected after the rush.
Seven has much staked on The X Factor. After this year’s Australia’s Got Talent, it knows how crucial it is that viewers connect with contestants (and those damned “journeys”). They’ve strategically avoided the first week of Big Brother to give the show every assistance. But the echoes of The Voice still linger. Promos suggest there are some talented discoveries, but the bar has been raised conceptually by Nine’s talent series. Also on their radar are GCB, Smash (a fabulous if niche musical drama), Killing Time (also replayed after its Foxtel run), Kath & Kim: The Souvenir Editions (a cheap repackaged ploy when we were effectively promised more). But unlike Nine, Seven is always underpinned by a depth of schedule across its week.
TEN is throwing everything at the box with some brash concepts that will likely create some standout successes and some potential bombs. Puberty Blues is the pick of their bunch, a quality drama series that is light-years away from The Shire and Being Lara Bingle. Who knows whether Everybody Dance Now will work? We loved the exhilarating dancers of So You Think You Can Dance, but this is an untried format with a cast of thousands. Then there’s I Will Survive, with a backdrop appealing to potentially an even smaller audience. Don’t Tell the Bride is hopefully more entertaining than Yasmin’s Getting Married, the premise sounds workable. Can of Worms is revamped with Chrissie Swan -great choice. But TEN is entering unchartered territory by not having one single brand across is 7pm timeslot. Didn’t they commission a show before to address that very question?
Oh and just to cover my arse …..I’ll be completely wrong on some of these!