Investors Scramble Seven In 2020 Programming Pitch

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

The Seven Network’s 2020 line up so impressed ASX investors on Wednesday that the shares fell more than 5% to 39.5 cents in a market that was weak but finished up less than one point.

The shares eased a further 1.2% yesterday to 39 cents – it was only on Monday – in the wake of the confirmation of the sale of Pacific Magazines, that the shares reached 43 cents. So the fall has been close to 10% in four days.

The reaction from investors to the Seven’s ‘upfronts’ for next year was reminiscent of how a bride should be dressed for the big day – something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Something old is Big Brother – only SBS and the ABC remain as possible homes for the program that started this genre of TV – it has already been on Ten and faded and Nine, and flopped. Something new? Well, it isn’t Plate of Origin, the ’new’ program to be fronted by Masterchef walkouts, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan.

They will join My Kitchen Rules’ judge Manu Feildel in Plate of Origin (State of Origin, geddit it?) which is supposed to be teams from various ethnic backgrounds competing. Haven’t we already seen two unsuccessful seasons of Family Food Fight on Nine in 2017 and 2018 which is a US format and not original so perhaps Plate of Origin is something old?

No, it’s something borrowed, as is the ‘new’ Seven drama RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service). That has already been done very successfully by Nine from 1986 to 1993 in The Flying Doctors  with Andrew McFarlane, Liz Burch, Lenore Smith and Robert Grubb. RFDS can’t be described as being ‘new’, just recycled (not a repeat). (Nine is recycling Halifax in 2020 with Rebecca Gibney so its just not Seven that is into TV program conservation, or a lack of ideas and money).

Still in the recycling and something old area and Seven returns, Farmer Wants a Wife in 2020 – that’s a rural and regional Australia dating program that lasted several years on Nine but died because of audience boredom.

Something old – My Kitchen Rules and House Rules are back next year and will be ‘re-imagined’ – that’s TV talk for a revamped menu in the case of MKR or renovated in the case of House Rules.

That will not change the underlying problem with both programs – that TV viewers are familiar with both – they will tune in to see what all the -re-imaging’ fuss is all about and will then drift away. It was done with Big Brother and Australian Idol on Ten in their dying days.

Something new in Seven’s line up for 2020. Stay tuned.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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