There’s been a slight twist in the open question of The 7pm Project‘s eventual fate – you seriously didn’t think it’d continue at 7pm with the ratings it’s been getting, did you? It seems that tonight’s footy-related bumping back to 11pm, while not the first time it’s happened, has people wondering if the show will make a permanent move to a later timeslot once Master Chef returns. After all, Master Chef is Ten’s biggest big gun: having a lead-in that people are avoiding like the plague would do a lot more harm than good.
We’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that the 7pm timeslot is pretty much the worst one possible for a show of this kind. Too early to do anything really funny, up against actual news shows on other channels – the list goes on. But if a shift to a late-night slot is on the cards (and a few official mentions of it as “The Project” suggest the 7pm part is up for grabs), someone might want to mention it to the people putting the show together. Rather than the comedy take on the news that was initially promised, these days The 7pm Project looks a lot more like a half-arsed version of ACA without the Hey Dad..! clips. “Australia’s got a gambling problem” said the promos for Monday night’s show; if the problem really is as serious as the serious music and serious faces make it out to be, what the hell is Dave Hughes doing anywhere near it?
[while on the subject of Hughes, in a recent interview in The Herald Sun Hughes modestly suggested "anyone who doesn't think I'm funny, I think they just don't get it". What's not to get? Whether it's him talking about wanting to "kill" people who give him bad reviews or the fact that his idea of a fun afternoon is bidding up the price at a house auction when he has no intention of buying the place - and going on to complain on radio when he accidentally wins the auction, so better luck next time you serious bidders - Hughes is a charming and lovable fellow who's a consistent source of quality laughs. Ahem]
If The 7pm Project were to go late night, it’d be a great opportunity to really crank it up comedy wise. Supposedly the Martin / Molloy radio show was originally pitched as an el cheapo late-night news comedy show (basically, the radio show with pictures), and Mick Molloy’s original idea for The Nation was something a lot similar. Pickering and the 7pm Posse aren’t Martin / Molloy funny, but outside the family-friendly timeslot and with the freedom that comes from being out of the spotlight there’s little doubt they could do a lot better than they’re doing now on the comedy front.
But as it stands, The 7pm Project is mostly just watered-down current affairs. No-one’s going to want to watch that after dark – hell, no-one wants to watch it now. Pushing the current version of the show (what is it now, mark 5?) into a late night slot is just a slightly less embarrassing way of saying goodbye. And while no-one’s going to be all that sad to see The 7pm Project go, if Ten is serious about it there’s still a chance to turn this lost opportunity into something actually worth a look. As usual, don’t hold your breath.