All the reality competitions are finishing up, final new episodes for shows are being called season finals whether they are mid season or not and the program guides for free to air channels are transforming into completely new and different schedules to what we have been used to for the last few months.
It is time for summer TV – starting Sunday November 28, 2010 – the time of year when the commercial free to air networks deliver more repeats than ever before, and give us more of those shows that simply don’t cut it during the main ratings season as well as a swag of New Zealand factuals (channel Seven mainly) that will help keep their local content quota up over summer.
Officially, the summer months do not count towards winning or losing the ratings but – ratings are still measured during summer, and networks will still adjust schedules to improve their chances of doing better in the ratings – afterall – summer or not – ratings is money for them.
Ten are easing us into summer with Neighbours and Rush continuing for a few weeks yet and a new episode of Glee remaining to be played on Monday Nov 29, before repeats air the week later. They also have All New Simpsons on Tuesday nights – new Simpsons no longer rates well enough to be on Ten during the main part of the year.
Nine have new episodes of Without a Trace and Cold Case as well as new shows Chase and Better With You. The best of 60 Minutes contains stories you would have already seen throughout the year while Two and a Half Men continues to be spread throughout the schedule of Nine and GO! Also on both channels, you can catch repeats of Top Gear on four nights.
Seven bring us new episodes of Border Patrol, Coast Watch, Animal Squad, ICU, Medical Emergency and Under the Hammer. They’ll be showing the US version of Minute to Win It followed by I Shouldn’t Be Alive. The Amazing Race continues, while new NCB drama Outlaw premieres on Monday night.
As for ABC1 and SBS ONE, you wouldn’t really notice that much of a difference as they move into summer TV. Australian drama Rake continues on ABC1, SBS premieres the new series of Who Do You Think You Are while quiz show Letters and Numbers continues at 6pm weeknights into December. ABC1 will be airing the Doctor Who Christmas special on December 26, hours after they see it in the UK.
To digital channels, and GO has re-shuffled parts of its schedule but it’s highest rating show The Big Bang Theory will not be seen on GO in summer. There is one episode on Nine in Tue Dec 7. Pretty Little Liars premieres Mon Nov 29, while new episodes of The Vampire Diaries return from Mon Dec 6.
GEM has a few subtle changes – one of which is that there will now be no movies on Monday nights because Nine is showing movies on Monday nights.
7TWO have transformed Sunday night completely with a line up no too different to their very successful Friday night lifestyle line up. 7mate’s programming remains much the same in summer, only difference is those new episodes of Family Guy and American Dad will be repeats while Gene Simmons moves into two nights a week instead of just the one. Stargate fans – look out for three hours of Stargate Atlantis on Thursday nights.
ONE HD will start showing a movie on Sunday nights while the rest of the week the channel is grouping roughly into themed nights.
Watch out for the launch of Ten’s new channel Eleven on January 11, 2011. Programming information should become available around Christmas time.
Meanwhile – Pay TV is premiering numerous new shows and series in December as part of their (Foxtel’s) 100 days of summer promotion.. Pay TV’s shares increase during free to air non ratings periods – a fact they now capitalise on to woo viewers over during summer.
As always during summer, there is plenty of cricket on Nine with the Ashes, the one day series and a few Twenty/20’s thrown in while Seven will have the Australian Open Tennis in January – which will also be seen on Fox Sports this time as well.
Carols in The Domain will air on Seven on Saturday Dec 18, while Melbourne’s traditional carols night will air Friday Dec 24 on Nine.
Ratings season for 2011 resume Sunday February 6, 2011.
Following are the links to programming and information for most channels for the first week of summer.
Foxtel’s 100 Days of Summer