Is Nine looking to replace MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT with a UK game show?

Is Nine looking to replace Eddie McGuire’s afternoon game show?

Channel 9 is facing a serious problem despite being the darling of prime time this year. The once dominant HOT SEAT MILLIONAIRE is now a distant second to Channel 7’s THE CHASE and that in turn is affecting news ratings.

Now the pressure is mounting to find a solution.

The question is; do Nine’s programming chiefs believe an unknown UK show holds the key to taking down Andrew O’Keefe’s compelling afternoon quiz?

This week observers at TV Blackbox and Mediaspy noticed a new promo hit the airwaves for a show called Tipping Point. The show is a cross between a quiz show and a game of luck machine. Instead of chocolates or prizes this machine uses coins. The winning contestant picks one of four slots and releases their coin which in turn (hopefully) pushes other coins into the winning slot. In the UK version each coin has a value of £50.

Nine’s promo selling the show simply says:

“TV’s all new big money winner is coming. Your new weekday obsession, Tipping Point soon on Nine”

TV Blackbox can reveal Nine have bought the rights for a short run in daytime and will be airing the UK version. As yet no launch date or timeslot has been determined.

The UK version is enjoyable but lacks the pace we have come to expect from Channel Seven’s The Chase. Host Ben Shephard does a fine job of holding the show together and as a viewer not only do you find yourself answering the questions put to the contestants but you also find yourself guessing which slot to send the coin down to get the biggest return. The show is fun and an easy watch, good for an early evening timeslot.

And there’s no doubt the network needs to experiment with possible replacements for the Eddie McGuire hosted Hot Seat. This year Nine News has faced it’s toughest year against Seven News and a lot of that can be attributed to the commanding lead-in provided by the Seven quiz.

On Thursday The Chase Australia had 640,000 viewers from 5.30 - 6pm while Hot Seat could only manage 478,000. it’s figures like this which has seen Seven News gain traction in Melbourne and Brisbane with even Nine in Sydney taking a hit by losing a week to its rival.

While some might doubt the importance of lead-in, no-one would argue that little bit helps in the nightly battle for ratings. Back in 2009 news guru Peter Meakin told The Weekend Australian he was sceptical of the importance of lead-in, although also remarked;

“I say a prayer to ( Deal Or No Deal host) Andrew O'Keefe each night''

So, if Tipping Point can gain any kind of traction you can bet it won’t be long before Nine announce a local edition. In fact The Chase got its start the same way by gaining an audience in the afternoon and was then remade for the local market with a local host.

Millionaire has done a superb job over the years but its time has come and if Tipping Point isn’t the answer you can be sure Nine will continue hunting for a suitable replacement.

It’s only a matter of time.