A few people today have noticed something we picked up on yesterday: Channel Ten’s pulled the plug on tonight’s comedy line-up. No Thank God You’re Here, no The Inspired Unemployed. And why? The sudden realisation that Australian comedy is in a death spiral and they were only prolonging the agony? Worse: they don’t want it to interfere with the sport.
We’re talking, of course, of the big World Cup (is that right)… match? Between Australia and… England? Not the UK? Look, we barely give a fuck about sport at the best of times. When we’re told it’s our patriotic duty to watch a ball get kicked around? Open up a cell door because we’re turning traitor.
But we also can’t deny that the last game was a massive ratings smash. We didn’t think there were four million television sets left in the country, let alone four million free-to-air viewers. So it’s hardly surprising that the other commercial networks (Nine has also pulled tonight’s episode of The Block) are getting the hell out of its way. No point sending your best troops over the top directly into enemy machine gun fire and all that.
What is slightly interesting about this is that the ABC is standing firm. Good news for fans of Hard Quiz, Gruen and Gold Diggers! God knows they deserve some, what with their crap taste in television.
There’s a couple of possible reasons for this:
A): The ABC hate sport and Australia. Bloody typical.
B): The ABC want to give television audiences some real choice. It’d be nice to believe this, but having seen the rest of the ABC’s line-up across the year it doesn’t seem like “choice” is something they’re all that keen on delivering.
C): The ABC think it doesn’t really matter, because their main audience now is all on iView and will get caught up on tonight’s programming later if they’re too busy watching the Matildas live. And sure, this is definitely possible, though the idea of actually going out of your way to log onto iView to watch Hard Quiz is pretty depressing.
D): The ABC think it doesn’t really matter, because they know that their viewers ain’t going nowhere. In their minds the ABC audience is so firmly rusted-on that not only do they barely acknowledge the existence of commercial television, they don’t really care what they watch so long as that little ABC logo is in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
The reason why none of these possible reasons makes complete sense is because Wednesday night is meant to be the one night when the ABC really does compete with the commercial networks on their own terms. It’s comedy night! And while the days when the ABC would actually win the ratings thanks to a bunch of legitimately popular and crowd-pleasing programs are long gone, the stench of their blatant audience-chasing remains.
Or at least, something stinks