Count ’em up, there are now 8 first-run Australian dramas screening at 8:30pm, or thereabouts, on Free to Air Television.
Three of them are on the ABC while Nine and TEN each have two.
Sunday: Rake (ABC), Fat Tony and Co. (Nine)
Monday: Love Child (Nine), Secrets and Lies (TEN)
Tuesday: Winners and Losers (Seven)
Wednesday: Puberty Blues (TEN)
Thursday: Janet King (ABC)
Friday: The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
It has to be some kind of record.
That’s without even adding in the soaps Home and Away, Neighbours or the comedies including The Moodys and This is Littleton. Foxtel also has others, including Wentworth, waiting in the wings.
For the most part, these dramas are almost universally top-notch stuff. But while we celebrate this ‘golden age of local drama’ the downside is that not everything is going to cut through. Winners and Losers indeed….
Understandably, networks are desperately trying to get your attention to ensure they have every fighting chance. Against Reality juggernauts there are some very creative tactics being employed.
For the last few Mondays Nine has run A Current Affair overtime which has seen The Block doing its best to emulate the running time of My Kitchen Rules. Last night The Block began at 7:40pm leaving Love Child scheduled for a 9pm start, as MKR ended. This kind of clever ‘protection’ saw Love Child win its timeslot against Revenge. Nine even ran a Love Child “sneak peek” at 8:35pm before continuing The Block.
By contrast Secrets and Lies, which aired from 8:30pm was smothered at around 400,000 viewers. TEN has scheduled three replays, tonight on ELEVEN then on TEN on Thursday and Saturday. It’s hoping to pick up more viewers in the same way Broadchurch increased as its mystery deepened.
On Wednesday TEN returns Puberty Blues, but it will use an upcoming “sneak peek” of an Offspring scene to help draw in viewers.
The ABC has three local dramas, more than any of the commercials, on offer. So far they are performing well, especially Dr. Blake which owns its Friday timeslot.
Seven may only have one “8:30” drama on air right now, but its INXS miniseries outrated all the rest. Next week Winners and Losers will comprise a double episode.
The challenge for Programmers right now is to support their content with the best-possible lead-in, effective promos and clear destinations for overwhelmed viewers.
The challenge for viewers right now is to simply try and keep up.
And have a bloody good PVR.