Can Chris & Julia save Channel 10?

Dr Chris Brown & Julia Morris host 10’s biggest gamble

PHOTO: 10

After a string of failures for the 4th placed network, there’s a lot riding on Sunday Night Takeaway

At the conclusion of week 8 in the OzTam survey, Channel 10 is now Australia’s 4th placed network behind the ABC. It’s been another disastrous week for the CBS owned company which saw SBS’s primary channel only 1 share point behind on Friday night.

The ABC finished week 8 with a 12.6% primary channel share compared to 10’s woeful 9.8%. In network shares 10 didn’t fare much better; 15.2% to the ABC’s 17.5%.

Below you can see a week-by-week comparison of 10’s primary channel share versus the ABC;

ABC v 10 PRIMARY CHANNEL WEEKLY SHARES 2019

And here’s how the two look when we compare network shares;

ABC v 10 NETWORK WEEKLY SHARES 2019

As previously reported on TV Blackbox, network executives are said to be under growing pressure with claims CEO Paul Anderson and Chief Content Officer Beverley McGarvey will be gone by the end of the year. Whether the rumours are true or not, there’s no doubt Channel 10 is in trouble with launch-after-launch failing to resonate with audiences.

2019 WEEKLY NETWORK SHARES YTD

*OFFICIAL SURVEY PERIOD ONLY

The one exception so far has been I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, which premiered with a 5 city metro figure just above the magic million. It was a smart strategy by 10 to put an entertainment show up against sport and it paid off… until NINE and SEVEN launched their entertainment juggernauts Married at First Sight and My Kitchen Rules.

IAC’s figures then fell dramatically, which would be fine if their other shows launched well… but they didn’t.

Changing Rooms premiered to a shocking 204,000 viewers on Wednesday 13 Feb against stiff competition. Although the second episode had clear air with no MAFS or MKR is could only manage 298,000.

When announcing the addition of Changing Rooms to their 2019 line-up, Beverley McGarvey believed the show would be able to connect with viewers;

Rumours persist Chief Content Officer Beverley McGarvey is under pressure from CBS

PHOTO: 10

'Our new show will capture the essence and appeal of the original format and re-energise it, with strong storylines and more kitchen and bathroom reveals, which are proven favourites with Australian viewers.'

But the show didn’t connect and 10 was left scrambling, reworking most of their schedule and bumping the show to a Friday/Saturday time slot.

That led to a disaster on Friday night where the main channel could only obtain a 7.7% share. SBS’s main channel had 6.7%. It was even worse in Adelaide where SBS beat 10 with a 9.7% share compared to a simply woeful 5.7%.

Dancing With The Stars was another big play by 10. By bringing back another heritage brand network bosses were hoping to grab the audience that loved the show on Seven. The thinking didn’t seem to make sense though as DWTS skewed old but 10 have stated time-and-time again they are chasing an under 50 demo. The two don’t gel which is why the show could only manage 621,000 despite likeable hosts in Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer and great production values.

Although a figure with a 6 in front of it is much better than what most of 10’s shows are getting, so this was a relative success.

BUT on the night of such an important launch the primary channel could only manage a 12.9%, beaten again by the ABC on 14.3%.

The network also made the baffling decision to run a repeat episode of Ambulance Australia on Tuesday night which created another disaster for the network. Drawing a lowly 259,000, the show affected the ratings for Hughesy, We Have A Problem (261,000) and brought down 10’s primary share to a dismal 8.1%.

10 CEO Paul Anderson is also under pressure to deliver

PHOTO: The Daily Telegraph

This led to more scheduling changes, showing the pressure McGarvey and Anderson are facing. As I’ve stated previously, 10 was always known as the network that would stand by a show and give it every chance of succeeding, but not this year. After making a lot of promises to their American owners, McGarvey and Anderson have to prove their worth this year and so far they are failing to do so.

Tonight comes the final test; can Julia Morris and Dr Chris Brown save the reputation (and jobs) of those at the network? Perception is everything in this game and if the network can just get one hit it will turn the narrative around. Chris & Julia’s Sunday Night Takeaway is a huge gamble and it’s going up against strong competition. It’s a smart move to provide viewers with an alternative to the reality shows on NINE and Seven and the network has developed a great duo with Chris and Julia but will this translate to a popular variety show, well that remains to be seen.

Chris & Julia’s Sunday Night Takeaway premieres tonight at 7.30pm on 10 & WIN

*Rob Mcknight is a former employee of Network 10

Send your tips to @rob@tvblackbox.com.au