The Nine Network has chopped and changed its program schedule following
the weekend management getaway to discuss life in the ratings slow
lane. The Block, which premiered in 2003 and was the
network’s success story of the year has been axed, a victim of less
than brilliant ratings last year, cost cuts at Nine, and the weak
property market in Sydney. A unit from the first series is currently on
the market at around $100,000 under the purchase price, a big loss to
the buyer, Fairfax’s Sun Herald newspaper.

The Network had employed a company to screen contestants, but hasn’t
bought a third apartment block to renovate, a saving of one to two
million dollars. Nine says the producers of The Block are too busy anyway producing a second series of Celebrity Makeover and a new series of Celebrity Circus. We can hardly wait.

Meanwhile Nine says that the gardening home improvement program, Scotty’s Place, which was due to be a replacement for Burke’s Backyard, is back on track after the female co-host, Jo Beth Taylor was replaced by another woman. Scotty’s Place has been renamed Our Place and is due to start on Friday 8 April in the old Burkes Backyard timeslot of 7.30 pm. Nine has been showing Renovation Rescue there, with Scott Camm, the Scotty from Our Place, the main star. RR has been easily beaten by Seven’s Better Homes and Gardens and Burkes Backyard was getting better figures.

And in another move, Nine has dropped plans to make a clone of the successful Seven Network program, Forensic Investigators. Under Suspicion was the working title and Nine revealed the plans to make it and a companion program, Missing. Missing
remains in production and is due to appear in the second half of the
year. Experienced producer, Danny Milosevic was due to produce it but
he is staying with his steady gig, RPA.