Is The Chaser set to take their war on everything commercial? I wondered, after the first two episodes did so well at 9pm Wednesdays how long it would be before the commercial networks came calling.
Along with Spicks and Specks at 8.30pm, the ABC programs were second behind Ten’s House this week, but The Chaser was once again the number one program on the night in Sydney for the third week in a row.
And last night A Current Affair was up to its old tricks, with a story claiming there was commercial interest in The Chaser and tried very, very hard to get the story to run.
That well-known TV network executive, Mike Carlton of 2UE was quoted, as was professional Melbourne TV commentator, Peter Ford, comedian Peter Moon (who used to be on Fast Forward) and the Courier-Mail journalist, Di Butler.
Nine’s audience in the 16 to 39 and the 18 to 49 age groups is falling this year. Its age profile is now well over 55, so last night’s story would have been foreign to most of the ACA audience.
There’s also an element of destabilising The Chaser’s appeal to viewers by hinting of a “sell-out”. Younger viewers like it because the people involved are young, irreverent (good Sydney Grammar Boys though) and attacking business and things the young don’t necessarily respect.
Bright young talents selling out to commercial TV is nothing new but it hasn’t hurt the old D-Generation mob from doing well with Thank God You’re Here and The Panel.
But I don’t think we’ll see The Chaser going commercial. After all you couldn’t imagine the Grim Reaper skit from this week’s program being allowed to appear on the Nine Network. Nine doesn’t want confronting TV nor do they like their business mates or acquaintances being challenged.
Just imagine The Chaser having a go at Crown Casino: there’d be blood on the floor at Willoughby. Bonings galore!
Would Seven and Ten accommodate them? Ten has its deal with Working Dog (the old D-Gen folk) and Seven is full up, though it does need a program like The Chaser.
There’s the recent example of the irreverent sports program The Fat switching from the ABC to the Seven Network and failing. The Fat people were not in control of the program and the idea whereas the Working Dog crew have always had control.
If The Chaser lads are going to switch, then staying in the driver’s seat is key.