Executives at the Nine Network are reportedly discussing the future of Hey Hey it’s Saturday, following renewed ratings pressure from last night’s dismal performance.
The two-hour program averaged 801,000 viewers nationally, which is a little over half the audience it attracted when it returned this year and a third of the audience who watched last year’s reunion specials, the Herald Sun reports.
The two nostalgic events on September 30 and October 7, performed remarkably well against Celebrity MasterChef, securing an audience of 2.169 million and 2.308m respectively. Even the premiere of this year’s return on April 14, pulled a strong 1.521m viewers, competing with the premiere of The Pacific.
Ratings began to slide particularly fast from the second episode. In recent weeks it has fallen from 1.101m to 1.003m, then to 995,000, 908,000 and now 801,000.
“Would they be happy with the figures — no. There is not a lot of options,” a Nine spokesman commented.
Meanwhile, a network insider confirmed that, “If it doesn’t hit a million, it is a big problem.”
Managing director of Fusion Strategy and media analyst, Steve Allen, said, “I’d take it off air immediately and put something else on next week.”
Initially, Nine is believed to have only wanted a small series of specials. However, host and co-producer, Daryl Somers, persuaded the network to increase its order to a twenty episodes season, consisting of two blocks of ten episodes. The network has since brought five of those episodes forward with plans to air the remaining five in the final quarter this year.
“We’ve always said that Hey Hey doesn’t have 20 episodes in it.
“It’s a joke that can’t go 20 times. It was loopy to run it continuously.”
Allen recognises the tough compeition in MasterChef Australia, but says the bigger problem is the show’s lack of new segments and creativity.
“It’s not fresh, they haven’t renovated the format, it’s not compelling viewing.
“People have abandoned a tired format that doesn’t have legs.”
Despite this, the broadcaster will likely hold out until later this month to make a decision on the program’s fate. Nine will be hoping that Kylie Minogue‘s appearance on July 21 will result in a much needed ratings boost.