The Ten Network makes a habit of taking the cast-offs from its competitors and turning them into gold.

Take Neighbours, for example, which turns 20 next week. It was first screened by Seven which couldn’t make it work and didn’t have the patience to develop it. Now it’s the biggest thing in Australian TV and an international hit for producers, Grundys (Fremantle).

The list also includes Seinfeld (originally on Nine), The OC (Nine), Everybody Loves Raymond (Nine and Seven), Rove McManus (Nine), and Australia’s Brainiest Kids which it grabbed last week after Seven decided not to take up series two.

And now, Merrick and Rosso have jumped from Nine to Ten because Nine couldn’t guarantee Merrick and Rosso Unplanned a 9:30pm timeslot – the time they had on Nine last year when they went to air midweek. But under interim CEO, Sam Chisholm, Nine is a different ship, more interested in reaching back to the distant past whenever it can.

Merrick and Rosso used to score around 500,000-600,000 viewers most nights, which isn’t brilliant but not bad given that most of the viewers are aged 16 to 39. Their appeal to youngsters is helped by their breakfast shifts on the DMG station, Nova.

With Australian Idol‘s third series starting next week, Ten’s hold on the young demographic looks safe.

Peter Fray

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