Santo, Sam and Ed’s Sports Fever finished up on Monday night after 10 weeks. Apparently it hasn’t been axed, it’s on a break, so the question is: when will it be back? The show’s producers, Working Dog, are famously tight-lipped about such matters – now that we think about it, they didn’t even say how long the series would be – so the only thing we can do is speculate on the show’s future. And our speculation is this: if the money and ratings were/are acceptable to Seven/7Mate, it’ll be back when the “proper” sport is over.
By proper sport we, of course, mean footy – either AFL or NRL – codes which risk drowning in a slurry of coverage on a daily basis, and games which are almost never discussed with any wit beyond hackneyed stereotypes and “jokey” abuse. In this climate Sports Fever and its predecessor Cup Fever have been radical departures, not just because they featured real comedians writing and performing sketches and doing cheesy prop gags (themselves almost radical departures for TV comedy these days), but because they dared to suggest that other sports existed and deserved a mention. Or were smart enough to realise that it’s possible to engage non sports fans by producing something which is entertaining in its own right.
TV shows about sport needn’t be po-faced and serious, or hosted by a group of ex-players trying to out bloke each other. This is a show which ended with its presenters gleefully reading out the worst gags they could think of and chucking them in a bin – oh for the day Eddie McGuire has the sense to throw out a proportion of his output!
Whether the show rated well enough to come back is probably going to be the sticking point. Being bumped from 10.45pm to 11.30pm on Seven was a sign that things weren’t going as well as hoped, but that the show stayed on air for 10 weeks does indicate a certain amount of network faith in it. Or perhaps no one, Seven or Working Dog, wants another of those high profile failures on their hands. If this show is over we won’t get confirmation of that for a very long time, and if it’s back, which we hope it will be, we’ll most likely hear about it when the footy ends.