The past week saw Seven win their first week of ratings over Nine since Easter. The win has for the most part been attributed to the huge share the network on Friday night by showing live AFL into Melbourne. Losses in previous weeks have been mostly due to Seven’s poor Thursday night performance where, since AFL show The Bounce was rested, the network has shown different programming in different markets.
In the NRL markets, the Matty Johns Show remains at 7.30pm while the AFL markets see UK comedy the Vicar of Dibley. At 8.30, the NRL markets get Criminal Minds repeats while the AFL markets were given another UK comedy – Benidorm – to try. These programs are then followed by double episodes of the Amazing Race with Flashforward wrapping up the night after 11.30pm.
With heavy competition from both Ten and Nine early Thursday night, Seven has struggled to get a grip on the night. Masterchef and Glee on Ten top their respective time slots while Getaway and Sea Patrol on Nine come second after Ten. While The Vicar of Dibley may do very well on a Saturday night when there are fewer options on free to air TV, it does not fit well into a competitive prime time weekday timeslot where you would expect a network to offer better programming than 15 year old British comedies.
While Seven should probably be applauded for trying something different like Benidorm at 8.45 after the Vicar, it is reasonably obvious that such a show will have a more niche audience, and is best suited to 7TWO where will rate probably as well as many of the other British comedies that channel offers. Benidorm will never do well on a main channel. As a result, it will no longer be on from Thursday June 10 and may come to 7TWO at a later date.
As for showing Criminal Minds repeats after Matty Johns in the NRL markets, just because the show rates well in other time slots, does not mean it will do well at 8.30 Thursday night after a football show. The figures have been woeful to say the least, with the combined ratings for the 8.30 timeslot in both markets on Seven no better than what they were for Cougar Town and How I Met Your Mother – both of which were axed when The Bounce was pulled. How I Met Your Mother can usually draw a million viewers but the show was victim to being paired with the less popular Cougar Town and simply lost in Thursday night especially considering that late running footy shows meant the start time could be anything up to 15 minutes late.
Then there is the Amazing Race. I am an Amazing Race fan, but cannot understand why Seven would want to rush through the series so quickly by putting double episodes on which end up finishing close to midnight. The Amazing Race concludes on June 10. All that has done is to reduce interest in the show as viewers have been lost with the late finishes. The ratings for the Amazing Race are the lowest they have ever been and Seven would have been better off playing them once per week at 8.30 with perhaps How I Met Your Mother and other comedies following from 9.30. A comedy Thursday night on Seven would offer an alternative to crime on Ten and footy on Nine and would lift the networks’ shares to a better position.
But what about 7.30pm Thursday? To me, the solution is simple. With AFL fans in Melbourne in particular screaming for live AFL coverage on Friday night, why not give them the live AFL and move Better Homes and Gardens to 7.30 Thursday night in AFL markets? That way, in NRL markets, you would have the Matty Johns Show on at 7.30pm Thursday with Better Homes and Gardens remaining on Friday nights – at the same time Nine shows live NRL. Meanwhile – Seven in AFL markets would have Better Homes and Gardens on Thursday nights at 7.30 and live AFL on the Friday nights from 7.30pm (although would still be delayed in Adelaide and Perth).
With Amazing Race finishing June 10, Seven will need to come up with a completely new Thursday line up form 8.30pm. Had they not have rushed through the series, Amazing Race at 8.30 followed by a comedy night as mentioned earlier might have been a good idea.
Which ever way Seven goes, expect a completely new Thursday night on Seven from June 17. As for June 10 in the AFL markets, Benidorm’s 8.45pm timeslot is still reaming as TBA for now.
We will update with programming details as they come to hand.