The cooking show has finished. The reality shows about spoiled white people were little watched. The one with the brides didn’t fare much better. Then the dancing show got boned. Now the singing show has failed.

The Ten Network can’t buy a hit. And things are getting desperate.

The litany of programming mistakes and misfires is close to unprecedented even for the volatile world of commercial television, from its aborted George Negus experiment in “serious” news, extended bulletins and breakfast-time rip-offs, to reality-docos like The Shire and Being Lara Bingle, to exceedingly expensive unmitigated flops like The Renovators, Everybody Dance Now and, last night, the Priscilla-inspired I Will Survive. Ten lost out on the rugby league broadcast rights yesterday too, and its hopes of wrestling cricket away from Nine seem like a long-shot.

Ten management say when you invest in new shows you’re bound to make some duds. But there’s more at play here for the business and the broadcasting sector.

Shareholders will rightly question how a profitable network that used to dominate key demographics has fallen so far, and how the board — led by Lachlan Murdoch, for a time the CEO responsible for programming disasters like Breakfast, and including Gina Rinehart and her ally Jack Cowin — could let it happen.

The television business is undergoing significant change along with other sectors of the media and only the strongest will survive. Ten is increasingly vulnerable, and industry and government types whisper about the possibility that three commercial networks won’t be viable in the future.

You might not like its latest drag act, but if you care about media diversity Ten must survive. Lachlan has an awful lot of work to do.