Roy and HG are among the icons of Australia’s inner urban elites with their, at times, rough and ready approach to sport, politics and social mores. Their Olympic performances on the Seven Network in 2000 and 2004 pulled big audiences and exposed them to a much wider viewing group. But outside the games period they appeal mostly to an ABC audience, with football calls on the Triple J network on the weekends and calls of the NRL grand ginal and the State of Origin matches.

One of the reasons the Seven network wasn’t interested in them outside the Olympics was that they felt Roy and HG (Roy Slaven and HG Nelson, AKA John Doyle and Greg Pickhaver) didn’t work in commercial television. But many Roy and HG supporters disagreed, so there were cries of joy when the duo bowled up with The Memphis Trousers Half Hour on the ABC a couple of months ago.

After starting well with audiences of more than half a million in March, the show has started fading as the humour has become more forced and even the dedicated fans found something better to do on Saturday nights. Last Saturday it attracted only 344,661 viewers nationally at 9.30 pm, compared to the 582,000 who watched a month earlier. It’s clear the show is in a possibly terminal decline, even at the ABC, where management is said not to be driven by ratings.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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