“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.

Seven to replace Packed to the Rafters with new drama Winners & Losers

“Australia’s favourite drama is being pulled off air for at least the next three months.”

Packed to the Rafters season cut short

Packed away for now

Rafters’ cut halfway through series

Ouch.

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

This sucks

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

Why!

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?

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Posted on March 11, 2011, in Channel Seven, Drama and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have never watched Packed to the Rafters but cannot abide the new show ‘Winners and Losers’.

    Really bad acting all around, with the only good performance from Jenny the redhead.
    I just thought the characters were all too cheesy and cliche.

    • G’day mate, yes I agree with you that a large part of it was clichéd, in terms of the dynamic between the unpopular girls and the bitchy popular one. And also in terms of characterisation, but then, I guess you have to expect that from a pilot episode, in order to best acquaint viewers with these new people. I’d give next week a go before you write it off completely, to see if they begin to flesh-out the characters.
      I also agree with you about the actress who played Jenny. I think that her character has the most potential, in terms of development.
      But in terms of Australian drama, the fact that it isn’t another cop show gives it some points right off the bat, and though you haven’t seen Packed to the Rafters (it is a good show, most of the time), its creator Bevan Lee has earned viewers’ respect, so I would encourage everyone to give it another go, for that, if nothing else.

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