It’s a Buyer’s Market

If you’re one of the handful of people still watching the ABC’s main free-to-air channel, you might have noticed something a bit unusual over the last few days.

So the ABC is promoting an upcoming line up; so what?

For those of you without a calendar handy, here’s what’s puzzling: this new line-up is two and a half weeks away. If you watch this ad with the usual attention most of us give ads, you’re going to come away thinking “oh, new shows this week”, only to discover that it’s the same old same old until the start of next month. Which is somewhat unusual for free-to-air television, where networks usually refuse to let anyone know anything about what they have planned more than a week in advance.

It’s also not as if this is a brilliant new line-up of shows everyone’s been clamouring to have back. Yes, Gruen rates well, but both Home Delivery and The Weekly are firmly average Wednesday night performers for the ABC – in fact, you’d have to think that both Mad as Hell and Hard Quiz (which are part of the current Wednesday night line-up) would rate just as well, even if the ABC has given up on promoting them.

So what’s the rush? Promoting a line up that’s over a fortnight away seems a great way to shaft both the shows you’re currently putting to air and any audience who might be interested in the new shows, so presumably they have a good reason for throwing the current bunch of shows under the bus.

Maybe it’s because all three of the upcoming shows are fronted by the kind of loyal ABC celebrities the ABC love to promote while Mad as Hell host Shaun Micallef is set to betray the nation by hosting Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation on Nine? Oh wait, Julia Zemiro’s lined up to host a game show on Seven, that can’t be it.

Could it be that the current Wednesday night line-up is doing so badly the ABC are desperately trying to keep people on board by promising them that things are going to get better? But that doesn’t make sense either – Hard Quiz is rating solidly, and Mad as Hell is doing even better by maintaining its lead in later in the evening.

What could the ABC possibly be showing on a Wednesday night that the audience is turning away from? What show could they be putting to air that’s doing so badly they’ve started promoting a whole new line-up over two weeks in advance in the hope of dissipating some of the stench?


Beats us.

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