Channel 10 cancels POINTLESS

Mark Humphries & Andrew Rochford were the hosts of Pointless

PHOTO: 10

The axe has swung before the 2019 official ratings period has even begun.

Network 10 faces a serious problem at 6pm and that problem is only going to get worse now the network is on the hunt to replace the Mark Humphries and Andrew Rochford gameshow Pointless. Media commentator Peter Ford reports the network has dumped the struggling show which was commissioned as a replacement for Family Feud.

Speaking on MMM Hobart 107.3 Ford told hosts Dave Noonan and Al Plath the show is gone;

“Yesterday people involved with the show were told that it’s finishing”

Ford also warned listeners to be wary of any denials from 10;

“Now the channel 10 network will once again say I’ve made this up and they will have some spin about it being rested or whatever… but you’ll find the show has got the chop and they are looking at options”

Ford has a point, 10 has no credibility when it comes to denying leaked stories. This very website has often been on the receiving end of denials from the network even though we have had proof our information is correct. Also, when Ford leaked the entire cast (except one) of Dancing With The Stars, the team at 10 tried to insinuate he was way off the mark by admitting he did get a few.

The show failed from the get-go, despite critical acclaim for the hosts. The premiere episode was streamed across three channels (TEN, ONE & ELEVEN as they were known at the time) and only managed a 5 cap city metro audience of 493,000. The show it replaced, Family Feud, launched with 690,000 (also across 3 channels).

Grant Denyer as host of Family Feud

PHOTO: 10

From there audience numbers for Pointless continued to fall. On Wednesday night the show was watched by just 179,000 viewers. This was on the same day media commentary was focused on the woes of the TODAY show because the breakfast program had a dreadful 177,000. With Pointless only getting an extra 2k in prime time, what choice did 10 have but to axe it.

Just recently, Head of Programming Daniel Monaghan admitted to TV Tonight the network had got it wrong by commissioning Pointless;

“Mark and Rochy do a wonderful job as hosts and Shine make a very good show. I do think we’ve suffered a little bit from people who watched Family Feud and people who watch Pointless are not at all similar. So we’ve learned a lot.

As I pointed out in the TV Blackbox podcast, what kind of network doesn’t do basic research when commissioning a new show and try to keep the available audience to grow that time slot. 10 has basically admitted it threw the baby out with the bathwater by not finding a suitable replacement for Family Feud (which was never the ratings success it was made out to be, more on that below).

While sources say a replacement show has not been decided upon, Monaghan admitted to TV Tonight the Grant Denyer vehicle is always an option.

“We built the set so our aim is to bring it back at some point but it’s not planned to be brought back right now.”

There is still plenty of time for 10 to consider its options though, it’s believed an additional 100 episodes of Pointless were recently filmed at 10’s Pyrmont studios in Sydney.

The network has had a string of failed attempts at 6pm ever since moving The Simpson’s away from the main channel.

George Negus in 2011

PHOTO: TV Tonight

First up in 2011 was 6PM With George Negus, a serious attempt by the network to take on the Seven & Nine 6pm news services. In its first week it drew audiences between 429,00 - 606,000, but it wasn’t long before TEN bumped the show back to 6.30, swapping it with TEN Evening News which had launched along with Negus in the 6.30 slot.

Just 10 months after launching, the news experiment was cancelled and The 7pm Project was rebranded and extended to start at 6.30pm.

The 6pm slot became a bit of a dead zone for the network with even Modern Family filling the void until the network launched Family Feud in 2014. This time TEN took no chances and aired the show across three networks as a simulcast. The move inflated the figures and TEN were able to spin it as a success. Executives withstood pressure from inside and outside the organisation for three years before finally dropping the simulcast.

When TEN launched Pointless in 2018 they again went with the simulcast option again but even that tactic failed to hide the disastrous decision.

Now we wait for an announcement (or leak) re: replacement.