The Ten Network is making another change to its faltering Sunday evening line-up; one that hopefully will produce a lasting result.
But the re-locating of Rove Live from Tuesday evenings at 9.30pm to Sundays at 8.30pm will not generate a significant boost in viewing for some time.
However, the Network is prepared to cop that after the pounding it has suffered on Sunday nights since the start of ratings: two places behind the ABC in third and a narrow third last Sunday night only because the ABC programmed a Kylie Special that did worse than ten’s Carbon test bit of greenery.
The Rove change starts from 1 April and will be his first appearance on air since his wife died last year.
Ten is banking on Rove’s continuing appeal to younger viewers to try and repair the damaged line up. Ten does OK with The Biggest Loser Weigh-In program from 7.30pm but it then falls in a hole.
But the audience could be bigger. It started with Celebrity Dog School at 6.30pm which ran for an hour: an hour too long after two episodes and it is being relocated to Saturdays at 6.30pm.
One fresh Simpsons episode and a repeat of Futurama were rotated into the 6.30 to 7.30pm slot and although numbers lifted slightly, no real boost for The Biggest Loser and the Carbon Test at 8.30pm did almost as poorly as the dog program.
So from this Sunday Ten is pushing repeats of Thank God You’re Here at 6.30pm to try and boost the audience past 800,000 and give The Biggest Loser a chance. Ten is aiming to work Rove with Big Brother from late May and then with Australian Idol.
Ten apparently feels younger viewers might be attracted away from Grey’s Anatomy to Rove. Certainly older viewers will be watching the ABC at 8.30pm and CSI on Nine at the same time.
By switching Rove now, Ten also avoids a looming problem later this year. Rove Live was dying on Tuesday nights and had that continued some sort of “boning” operation would have been needed to revive it. It’s felt the shift to a much broader timeslot on a higher viewing night will rejuvenate the program.
But it is a risk. Audiences do like what’s on Nine and Seven on Sunday nights. Big Brother will provide a doubled up lead into Rove once the eliminations and nominations cycles get going.
It will also be a way of Ten having more Big Brother content but in a more controlled environment instead of the cowboy Uncut and Adults Only programs over the past couple of years.