When the ABC axed The Glasshouse last year we speculated that the decision would allow the ABC to reposition the high profile “naughty” program The Chaser’s War on Everything to a prime time slot on Wednesday night.

Well, the ABC has done just that with the news this week that The Chaser will now go to air at 9pm this year right after Spicks and Specks (which starts on 14 February). The new season of The Chaser will start 28 March.

The Chaser’s War On Everything had been airing on a Friday night in that moveable timeslot right after the main Brit crime drama of the night: that put its start anywhere from 9.30pm to 10.10pm.

But it still rated highly, drawing good audiences and occasionally winning its slot or quarter hours against the commercials; much like the way the ABC ran The Glasshouse before switching it to the 9.30pm timeslot on Wednesdays.

But that earlier timeslot will make life a bit tougher for the irreverent gang on The Chaser: naughty bits, some of the keener edged satire and “adult” material from Friday nights last year just won’t be able to be shown before 9.30pm.

Material before 9.30pm is for a more general audience, post 9.30pm can be for a MA15+ group and allows nudity, swear words, coarse language and other “adult” material.

The ABC says The Chaser will be split into two 13 episode series with a “best of” program at the end. The program intends covering the 2007 Federal election. Unfortunately it will start after the NSW election on March 4.

The ABC said in a press release that The Chaser’s audience “increased significantly throughout the 2006 season, from its debut show of an 18.2% audience share (591,000) to its peak final show which attracted a 23.4% share (821,000).”

That’s not bad going but not as good as The Glasshouse which regularly averaged from 600,000 up to more than 700,000 at 9.30pm: its final program drew well over a million viewers.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey