Dead Cat (The) Bounce

What’s that smell in the air? Why, it’s the AFL Finals – and yet, amazingly, when the public’s eyes drop disinterestedly to the TV listings, they find no trace of Peter Helliar and The Bounce. Which is really kind of strange, because when it got the chop back in April, Seven’s Head of Programming and Production Tim Worner said:

“We can’t defend the ratings – they are perfectly clear. But there are some great things happening in the show that we love.

“Anecdotally – from players, clubs and viewers alike – there is a great deal of warmth for the show.

“That’s why we’ve decided to take some time to rethink some aspects of the show and bring it back during the Finals Series.”

Clearly one of the aspects of the show that they rethought was the aspect that involved actually broadcasting it to the general public. Or maybe the “great things happening in the show that we love” were the commercial breaks. For whatever reason, we’re not even going to pretend to be in the tiniest bit surprised that The Bounce has fallen off the face of the earth. No-one was watching it: why would a network based almost entirely around the idea of broadcasting shows people want to watch bring a failure back?

And yet, over at Seven it seems that nothing ever gets officially axed any more. Take TV Burp: it rated poorly, it was stuck next to the rubbish Double Take, it shifted timeslot three times in a manner of weeks, and yet when it vanished from our screens we were expected to take seriously news reports like this one

Contrary to some rumours, the show has not been axed.

Sure it wasn’t. It just vanished from our screens after poor ratings and never came back. Just like The White Room did, and yet we still had stories like this.

The outcome for The White Room remains unclear, whether moved to a new timeslot or out of schedule entirely.

We’re not beating up on TVTonight (it’s a solid TV news site), but in future, when a show gets yanked after a handful of episodes due to rubbish ratings, can we take it as read that it won’t be back? Even this seems a little generous when it comes to Australia Versus:

Whether the show resurfaces in another timeslot or on 7TWO remains to be seen.

Really? Maybe if they had a warehouse full of already filmed episodes (which they may actually have) this would sound plausible. But in the real world, no-one cares that a show they never watched has a teeny-tiny chance of maybe returning in a timeslot where there’ll be even less of a chance that they’ll accidentally catch a glimpse of it. Worse, this kind of fence-sitting makes it sound like the real story here has to do with rescheduling and not the way that Seven has taken a massive dump in the comedy punchbowl so many times now that audiences aren’t even willing to give their new offerings even the slightest chance.

Of course the networks and the talent involved are – usually at least – not going to say a show’s been axed: it’s an admission of failure. “Rested” sounds so much better, and provides an automatic defense against accusations of screwing thing up (“It’s not dead – it’s just resting!”). But – and here’s the important bit – that doesn’t make it true.

If we’ve learnt anything from the various bullshit stories that circulated after the axed of Tony Martin’s radio show Get This, it’s that media companies will lie, lie, lie about basically everything when something goes wrong. There’s nothing wrong with quoting what they say on the subject: it just doesn’t hurt to also dig out the roughly seven billion examples where they’ve been proved to be lying through their bleached-white tombstone teeth to provide a bit of context for their “it’s on a break” crap.

And now that we’ve established all that… anyone want to take bets on whether Hey Hey it’s Saturday will really come back this year? Everyone involved says it will, but fingers crossed…

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  • Pete Hill says:

    Come on, no-one says things directly any-more. As South Park made clear, no-one would eat veal if it was called dead baby cow. No one at work ever tells you to do more work in less time, they just tell you to improve your ‘time management’. No one hears a military commander ever say, “sorry, we killed a few civilians by accident.” No, they inflicted some ‘collatoral damage’. Thats why on Anzac Day, you never hear about the ‘Invasion of Turkey’, its simply the ‘Gallipoli Landings’. Thats why school-teachers have to say ‘you are acting in-appropriately’ rather than say ‘stop acting like a dickhead, you little —t.’
    To ‘axe’ a program is simply too blunt a term nowadays. Its a simple rule, if you never actually say the word, then the action never happened. You never ‘sack’ some-one, you just ‘let them go’. It makes everyone look warm and fuzzy. Trouble is, it is also treating viewers as if they are a bunch of dickheads. I have lost count of the number of TV shows that have simply been stopped or ‘paused’ mid-season and then never seen again. Maybe some-one can help me, does a network have to pay for the broadcast rights of a TV show up-front or do they only have to actually pay if the show actually goes to air? That might explain why Channel 9 never bothered to show the last two seasons of the West Wing, or the second half of Season 1 of Rome (or any of season 2) or why the ABC is about five years behind in showing ‘Spooks’.

  • Pete Hill says:

    Just read that Hey Hey is coming back. Man, that Somers has some clout, to be able to flog a few more episodes out of a dying horse. Maybe Channel 9 could do a publicity poster like Lord Kitcheners from 1914 with a stern-faced Daryl pointing at the viewer with a caption “I expect you to do your duty and watch Hey Hey and realise I am still a genius…”