6PM With George Negus is not rating very well. On Friday, the news rated 327,000 nationally. Compare that with The Bold & The Beautiful airing on the same network at 4:30pm, which received 389,000 viewers.

There are other facts to also consider:

  • Ten is not known for offering news between 6-7pm and so viewers habits are yet to change fully.
  • It’s still early days for the show. It is not yet a month old and is yet to find its voice.
  • Ten have proven with The 7PM Project that they are willing to stick with a show through the hard times if they believe init.

Is 6PM With George Negus likely to get the chop for its lower ratings? It’s unlikely that it will happen anytime soon. The show is yet to really prove itself.

Tonight, Ten are debuting an encore of 6PM to air every night at 10:30pm. This is obviously a move to get new eyeballs to discover the show. When The 7PM Project launched and suffered a similar ratings stumble, a similar programing strategy was employed. It didn’t quite work then and its unlikely to work now.

The biggest stumbling block is that 6PM is a news program. While news can be great for a network in that it is relatively cheap and can garner consistent ratings (with increases when there is a news story of significant public interest), it also doesn’t play very well as a repeat. outside of the occasional news special (or use on a rolling news service), TV news simply cannot be repurposed. It feels old.

Last week shit happened for Tony Abbott. The video went out on Sevens 4:30pm news and was subsequently replayed on every news service that evening. Responses were issued and quotes gathered from anyone who would speak on the issue. Watching 6PM With George Negus that night in Queensland (where I do most of my TV viewing) with an hour time delay, the story had already developed and evolved as part of the news cycle. 6PM that evening felt sluggish and lacking. This was a simple hour time delay, let alone the four and a half hour time delay that will be in place for viewers at 10:30pm.

Old news is, well, old news. It no longer offers relevance.

Getting beyond that, there’s also the issue that 6PM is not designed as a late night news service. The tone and editorial offered by the show is intended for an early evening audience. The viewership is different, as are their demands.

I have no doubt that 6PM can evolve and find an audience. I’m just not convinced that this is going to anything to assist with anything beyond reminding us that the show is not rating very well.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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