There is a chance of something happening in the second half of the year but sadly nothing definitive. And if we did return it would probably not be on a Saturday as according to Nine the “economics” don’t stack up: not enough people watching TV generally on a weekend compared to mid week viewing, therefore revenue verses the cost of mounting a two hour variety show like ours does not work. They can make more profit with a cheaper program.
…and none of it’s exactly news. Clearly if Live From Planet Earth keeps sucking Nine will need a replacement, but as Daryl should be only too aware, that replacement may not be Hey Hey It’s Saturday (or any of those shows he’s got “in development”). Nor should it be. His Facebook fans might have been watching but everyone else turned-off in droves.
Meanwhile, a show not so dissimilar to Hey Hey made its debut a few nights ago and did pretty well. In Gordon Street Tonight combined all those magic ingredients that Daryl Somers said we all wanted to see on our screens: live music, international and local guests, comedy, stunts, audience interaction, and social media as part of the show. The main difference between IGST and Hey Hey is that the newcomer did it a million times better.
Adam Hills is a likeable, funny guy and a solid host. His sidekick, Hannah Gadsby, was allowed to be funny, not just cut to whenever they needed some live tweets read out (although she did a good job there too). The show’s use of social media was clever and worthwhile, and those who joined in, whether they were Ross Noble mucking around on Skype or Adam Hill’s Twitter followers sending-in TwitPics, came up with some funny stuff.
The In Gordon Street Tonight team also realised the fatal flaw with a lot of variety shows – that if the show’s too reliant on the mix of guests people won’t tune in if the guests don’t interest them – so they created a format and an atmosphere where the guests weren’t the focus of the show, they just had to join in the fun. And that idea of researching the studio audience and involving them in some lo-fi Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush-esque stuff was quite fun too.
What was most exciting about the show, though, was that it reworked a grab-bag of tried and tested TV and online elements and gave them a genuinely fresh spin. You also get the sense that there’s plenty more to come – the show’s so open that anything could happen (although hopefully they won’t introduce a serial about pop stars living together any time soon). This is the complete opposite to Daryl Somer’s approach to television, where everything follows a predictable formula and looks about a billion years old. Somers should keep that in mind as his production company slaves away on those ideas in development.