“Rafters” replaced by “Losers”: What are Seven thinking?
Packed to the Rafters, now in its fourth season, has been killing it in the ratings. As usual.
Here are its ratings for its first five episodes of its fourth season.
Week 1: 1,943,000
Week 2: 1,815,000
Week 3: 1,796,000
Week 4: 1,748,000
Week 5: 1,806,000
So obviously many people are watching it.
However, Seven have made the bold move to replace it with new Australian drama Winners and Losers.
This has obviously been a planned strategy, as there’s no way Packed to the Rafters has been replaced for ratings reasons.
Seven has begun the year with a bang, with six strong episodes of Rafters, and hopes that by replacing it with another drama which is similar in tone, the audience will stick around to get their Tuesday night feel-good hit.
However, in this case, it is the wrong way to go about it.
Any Australian drama automatically begins with its back against the wall. Before it has even aired. Viewers have always been skeptical of new Australian drama, especially when compared to their shiny US counterparts.
In this case, it is a big ask from Seven to ask viewers to commit to a new drama, especially when they are so invested in the trials and tribulations of the Rafters.
It’s difficult to say it was a wrong decision to commission with the same sort of warm yet quirky undertones.
However, will people make the big switch next week when 8:30 comes around?
Will people turn off because it will be viewed as an imitation of Packed to the Rafters? Probably not, as it is on the same channel.
However, what did Seven think the media would say about this?
Take a look at these recent articles, trying to whip people up into a frenzy over their beloved Rafters being yanked, pulled and shoved off air.
“Australia’s favourite drama is being pulled off air for at least the next three months.”
Colin Vickery even states it has “little chance of getting the whopping (ratings)” of Packed to the Rafters. Well maybe, but this kind of prediction could lead viewers to switch off. Who wants to watch an unpopular show? Again, this is Seven’s fault.
Is it succeeding, though? Well, it certainly has the potential to.
Here are some select quotes from commenters on the Herald Sun article.
Amy of Melbourne Posted at 3:59 PM March 09, 2011
Comment 2 of 57
Sandra Barratt of Hampton park Posted at 4:16 PM March 09, 2011
I give it 3 episodes before it gets the chop and Rafters is back on!
Comment 5 of 57
nicole Posted at 4:17 PM March 09, 2011
Why can’t they just put it on another night when there is nothing on don’t take Rafters off ……
Comment 6 of 57
noni from country Vic Posted at 4:29 PM March 09, 2011
Comment 9 of 57
Em of Melbourne Posted at 4:30 PM March 09, 2011
This little David will flop because of the Goliath of a show it’s replacing. It cannot ride the coattails of PttR. Viewers will switch off in droves after the 2nd episode, when they realise it’s not the show they thought they were going to watch.
Comment 10 of 57
Lisa of Tas Posted at 4:31 PM March 09, 2011
Why cant channel 7 choose another time slot and just kick b*m with 2 good shows, why get rid of packed!!! Unbelievable.
Comment 12 of 57
Bring back PTTR of Melbourne Posted at 4:41 PM March 09, 2011
I was planning on watching Winners & Losers but now I won’t be. Channel 7 what are you thinking??
Comment 19 of 57
Always Right of West Melbourne Posted at 4:40 PM March 09, 2011
What a pack of dumbys! Im not watching the new show out of protest.
Comment 15 of 57
For a show with quite a lot going for it, in terms of bright and bubbly cast, different focus and decidedly different plot, it has generated a lot of negative publicity- and of no fault of the show’s writing or acting.
Obviously “Bring back PTTR” and “Always Right” are the most stinging of all the comments.
Unfortunately for Seven, not many media outlets have reported the fact that Rafters has not actually had many more episodes filmed, so even if they wanted to screen more episodes, there might only be a couple more in the can.
The other problem is, is that these articles keep referring to Rafters as being pulled off air, instead of being replaced in a deliberate strategy. “Pulled” connotes a rash decision, while Seven have probably had this up their sleeves for a while.
As for the fact that Seven didn’t tell anyone until recently, well they wouldn’t have exactly wanted to advertise Packed to the Rafters as being “Back for a (six episode) fourth season!”, would they? Why get viewers riled up then and risk losing the Rafters audience- they’re instead risking not getting a big audience for Winners and Losers.
All I’m saying is that Seven knew the papers would become so alarmist, so why create this opportunity?
Is it the most important issue facing the premiere of this new show? Probably not. Wait for the first newspaper reviews to come out. However, having people looking upon this show as the “show that forced the Rafters off the air” isn’t the best label you want for a new show. Especially when its an Australian show.
Will you be watching Winners and Losers? And if not, will your decision in any way be based on this move?