Is Australia all over Gordon Ramsay already, before the much trumpeted new series of Kitchen Nightmares USA gets fully underway?

Nine’s boss, David Gyngell has ‘boned’ Ramsay after just the first program in the new series — yanked from the 8.30 pm Monday timeslot where he underwhelmed for Nine last Monday night with just 732,000 viewers over two hours.

Australians, it seems, are over Gordon after a brief flirtation earlier in the year which at times resembled the same beat up and media circus as the Supernanny, also on Nine a couple of years ago.

It seems extravagant behaviour by the stars and over-promotion by Nine can only work so far. Ramsay’s Kitchen shows, like the Supernanny series, became formulaic and very predictable when the novelty wears off.

The decision to yank him from the heart of prime time so quickly was as much Nine’s fault as Gordie’s. Nine had promoted Monday’s two hour program as the return of Ramsay and people expected to see a bit of cursing and other over-the-top behaviour. Instead it was sort of collection of revisits and follow ups. Historical rather than hysterical. Even Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope interview with Australian cooking queen Margaret Fulton beat Ramsay.

So Gordie is now on Wednesday nights at 10pm, after the first episode of Nine’s new US spooky drama called The Fringe. It debuted this week in the US, won its 90-minute timeslot, but grabbed just 9 million or so viewers, which was less than the opening audience for the Sarah Connor Chronicles spin-off from the terminator movie (which has been canned). The Fringe is from Joel Abrahams who helped create Lost, which got lost on the Seven network earlier in the year and hasn’t been found (It’s in Seven’s boning room, waiting for summer).

Ramsay has been replaced by the Jack Nicholson movie, Something’s Gotta Give, which doesn’t refer to Gyngell’s claims that his Network is entitled to a 35% share of ad revenues next year. So far Nine’s post Olympic performance has been poor. Even with a new network look from next week, viewer’s won’t be enthused about Monday nights. The Monday after next is Poseidon, another movie, the 2006 remake of The Poseidon Adventure, the 70’s classic.

Nine was looking to the two hour Underbelly on Sunday night in Melbourne to give it a lift for the week: it will, but Nine will again do poorly elsewhere in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, just as it did poorly last Sunday night with Midsomer Murders bleeding viewers from CSI Miami and with Seven’s Dancing With The Stars blocking 60 Minutes and CSI Miami as well.

Nightmares was to have been the centrepiece on Monday night for extending the improved performance on Monday nights, but no more.

Peter Fray

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