With ratings for Two and a Half Men falling, what should Nine do with 7pm weeknights?
They are trialling the Big Bang Theory at 7pm in Brisbane. Overall, using Big Bang is a bad idea unless they are removed from all the other timeslots they air on Nine and GO. There simply are not enough episodes for Big Bang to be a long term solution for 7pm. Plus Big Bang has already been heavily repeated.
What Nine should really be considering is producing something locally for that time. There are too many sitcoms already at 7pm when you consider the programming on other digital channels.
But – until they come up with a locally produced 7pm solution, here’s one idea:
Who ever said that 7pm weeknights has to be stripped? It seems that on every channel, programming always strips the same show over 7pm most weeknights, with different shows at 7.30pm.
On Tuesday night for example, Nine could start Top Gear at 7pm – that way it would finish at 8.30, and would probably do better at that time.
On the other nights, play the new episodes of Two and a Half Men, Big Bang, $#*! My Dad Says and Mike and Molly at 7pm. Then – as new episodes run out, move onto other sitcoms like Hot In Cleveland, Episodes and Mr Sunshine. Avoid repeats altogether.
These shows are not doing that well at 7.30pm/8pm, so why not bring them forward and compete properly at 7pm – new content at 7pm would surely boost Nine’s performance then – no other main channel airs repeats at 7pm weekdays during ratings season. Leave all the repeats for GO and GEM.
The first issue Nine will have with this solution would be what to fill some of the 7.30 timeslots on Monday and Wednesday, but there is enough content (at this stage) if they were smart about it.
The bigger and probably more important issue is how would the regionals / affiliates deal with the programming – they air ACA at 7pm after either one hour news or two half hour bulletins where one is local, the other is capital city based. Back in the days of Temptation at 7pm, regionals used to air it at 5.30pm before the news. Maybe that is one option, but 5.30pm would be a bit of a waste for new sitcoms. And that wouldn’t solve the Top Gear dilemma if it was to start at 7pm on Tuesdays.
Better solution is that the regional networks air local news at 5.30pm, capital city news at 6pm then ACA at 6.30pm. Hot Seat at 5pm. Cut 4.30 news in half, or lose it altogether and put something like Antiques Roadshow on at 4.30pm. Ratings for the 4.30 news – especially on Nine/affiliates – is not that good anyway.
So assuming 7pm is freed up for regionals as well, current program might look something like:
7.00 new Two and a Half Men
7.30 Million Dollar Drop (due to air soon anyway, factuals until it is ready to air)
8.30 This is Your Life
9.30 specials/CSI: Miami
7.00 new Top Gear
9.30 Survivor Redemption Island (Nine needs to air this NOW)
7.00 new The Big Bang Theory
8.00 another factual
8.30 Farmer Wants a Wife
9.30 RPA: Where Are They Now?
7.00 $#*! My Dad Says
7.30 Getaway – back to an hour
9.30 Footy Shows
7.00 Mike & Molly
7.30 (AFL States): sitcom / factual repeats / movies
7.30 (NRL States): Friday Night Football
Having different first run shows on at 7pm each day could just be the point of difference Nine needs to help lift their current situation. If they keep on playing repeats at 7pm, like some of the digital channels do, they can only expect similar ratings.
I recall hearing about plans for a reality show to strip across 7pm – what happened to it? Were they just waiting until the Two and a Half Men craze died? Or did they really have nothing planned and are now in somewhat of a crisis mode?