The reviews are in for The Bolt Report, Andrew Bolt’s new Sunday morning TV pulpit at Channel Ten — and they’re not pretty.
As Sydney Morning Herald media editor Tim Dick writes: “Not having seen every attempt at television current affairs in Australia, it is impossible to judge The Bolt Report the worst. But surely it comes close.”
Bolt is not dull, Dick acknowledges. But his TV show — more Bolt, less Report — was: “It is named for Bolt, hosted by Bolt, and dominated by the Boltian worldview.” David Knox at TV Tonight agrees: “Insiders showed he is more effective as a commentator than host, a role which requires more moderating and less editorialising. Can Bolt possibly have it both ways?”
Or, as Dan Barrett argues on Crikey TV blog White Noise, if you’re planning a Fox News-style rant-fest at least do it loudly: “The Bolt Report feels like a low-rent cable news opinion-driven panel show that doesn’t have a strong voice. For the show to work, The Bolt Report and its host need to be bolder.”
But there’s only two metrics that really matter. For Bolt, that’s the reaction of his many (mostly Victorian-based) fans. After admitting he was “nervous for the first minute”, Bolt took to his blog to seek feedback — and the vast majority of some 655 comments are positive. “A breath of fresh air from all the other far left wing nonsense we see on tv,” said “John”.
And for Ten, it’s the ratings. They’re tiny, but about double the number of viewers who tuned into Video Hits the week before. As Glenn Dyer reports for Crikey (more detail in TV ratings), the show debuted with 163,000 at 10am with another 123,000 watching a 4.30pm encore edition.
And there was a big boost for Meet The Press in its new post-Bolt time slot, with 98,000 viewers its best result in years.