Category Archives: Channel Seven

Renewal and Cancellation Wrap: Winners and Losers Renewed!

Seven’s new drama series Winners and Losers has today been renewed by Channel Seven for a second season!

While not exactly my cup of tea, it is great to see a network putting so much faith in Australian drama.

Its ratings have not quite been up there with the 1.8 million of Packed to the Rafters, but an average of 1.36 million viewers per episode is definitely nothing to sneeze at. In terms of being a TV show, those are great numbers, and in terms of being an Australian drama, those are fantastic numbers.

The press release today states:

From Seven’s in-house drama team of John Holmes and creator Bevan Lee, Winners & Losers
follows the lives of four friends navigating their way through everyday life after winning the lottery.
The current debut season has won legions of fans around the country, with an average audience of
1.36 million viewers tuning in each week.
Winners & Losers stars Melissa Bergland, Virginia Gay, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith and Melanie Vallejo,
with a supporting cast including Blair McDonough, Tom Wren, Damien Bodie, Stephen Phillips and
beloved comedienne Denise Scott.
Pre-production for the second series is commencing in Melbourne, with all the leading cast members
set to return.
Creator Bevan Lee said:
“I’m delighted we are able to continue exploring the lives of Bec, Frances, Jenny and Sophie in a
second series, thanks to the audience embracing our show so enthusiastically.”
“And with the Season One finale set to turn the girls’ world upside down, I’m sure viewers will be
eager to see whether the girls’ new relationships and challenges make winners of them – or losers.

If you are a fan of the show, are you as passionate about it as Packed to the Rafters? For people like me, who gave up on it after the first few episodes (it felt a bit uneven, and not compelling enough to keep watching), is it worth another shot?

Episode 15 of 22 will air tonight (Tuesday 8:30PM on Seven), with only 8 more episodes to go to run out the first season.

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News: Samantha Armytage kicked off Dancing with the Stars + Opinion

The competition is heating up… etc. etc.

But we all know who the favourite is: Manu Feildel. We all know who the best dancer is: Haley Bracken.

They would obviously be the final two, and the only question was: who would make up the final 3 that would go into the Grand Final?

It turned out that Samantha Armytage couldn’t garner enough viewer support to lift her off last place in the ratings.

The final 3 next week will be Damien Leith, Manu Feildel and Haley Bracken.

While Samantha Armytage proved to be a good sport, for her sake, it was good to see her eliminated. The process of the judges tearing strips off her week-in, week-out became not only a bloodsport but also an unwatchable cringe-fest.

Helen tried to be as desperately optimistic and constructive as possible while Todd ranged from savaging her one minute to stating that it was not “personal”.

And criticism of her ranged from the bizarre to the just plain unfair.

Last week she was criticised for putting a George Clooney mask on her partner Brendan during rehearsals. McKenney said this was “insulting” to her partner, presumably because it implied she didn’t find him appealing enough. And while I agree somewhat with this sentiment (think what would happen if he or another man did the same to a woman and tacked an Angelina Jolie face on her head), it was clear that Brendan was not offended in the slightest – and Armytage even alluded to this in the pre-dance package- if he wasn’t insulted, where is the issue?

And also, most of those stunts are cooked up by producers- do they think the couples have enough time in between 9 hour rehearsals to organise stupid stunts like that?

And it was only a couple of weeks before that that her and Lara Bingle  were accused of not working hard enough.

Now I can’t speak for Lara Bingle, but we all know that Samantha Armytage has a job most weekends working on Weekend Sunrise. And when you’re being battered from pillar to post no matter what you do, where is the motivation meant to come from to start working hard?

And anyway, when did this stop being a dancing celebrity competition and start being a celebrity dancing competition?

Seemingly, the judges, namely Todd McKenney now demand celebrities to work themselves to the bone in order to become good dancers, so that they can judge them at the level of professional dancers, rather than celebrities just having a bit of fun.

And you may say that the judges know that scathing criticism is more of a ratings-puller that fawning adoration, but you could argue now that the judges are getting just a little bit too caught up in the competition, and less about the fun of dancing.

I found it contradictory that one week, they would tell people to relax and enjoy themselves, and the next, pick apart their dancing, clothing, work-rate, effort, facial expression and pre-dance package comments (see Lara Bingle’s swipe at McKenney for criticising her hair arrangement). How could anyone relax under those conditions?

But in saying all that, the final should be at least decent viewing because the playing field is the most equal it has been all season.

And there are still a couple of interesting questions still to be answered;

Will Manu be able to topple Hayley?

Will Todd McKenney and Joshua Horner’s simmering tension boil over?

Yes… just a couple of questions.

UPDATED: The Amazing Race Australia Bending the Truth… CONFIRMED!

UPDATE: CONFIRMED:

Check out Sam and Renae’s Facebook page to see them admit that the sisters didn’t “complete the task” on Monday June 20’s episode of The Amazing Race Australia in which it was made out as if Alana landed an arrow and completed the roadblock task.

It turns out she didn’t, hence they didn’t actually complete the task.

Does this constitute The Amazing Race Australia deceiving viewers? Read on for more discussion or leave a comment below.

(Thanks to commenter MolnarErik for the Facebook tip-off).

It would be naive to think that every reality show is presenting us with an accurate depiction of proceedings, especially when their key aim is to entertain, rather than to be honest, but Monday night’s Amazing Race Australia on Channel Seven was simply a bridge too far.

Take a look at Team Alana and Mel (or “the sisters” if you prefer) having a go at a Roadblock challenge in which they had to land 2 arrows on a target with 40 arrows to use.

And to put it in context, “the models” Sam and Renae were on their tail, having caught up to them despite arriving later.

They are also the last two teams in the race, meaning the last team to arrive out of the two of them will be eliminated (possibly).

So, first Renae (shooting for the models) scores their two arrows.

Then, as they are reading their next clue, Alana is down to only one arrow, with only one hit on the board. If she misses the next one, she will incur a four hour time penalty, meaning the models can streak ahead and pass through to the next round easily.

So, what are the odds, do you think, that Alana- who, out of 39 previous shots has only hit the target once (a 3% strike-rate for those playing at home), while suddenly land one on the very last shot (presumably purely out of sheer will and determination)?

Well, apparently very easily.

But take a closer look.

Here she is loading up (or whatever the technical term is):

After she lets go and the arrow flies through the air, it is clear that it is barrelling downwards, and you can see at this point when it crosses the flag the angle it is pointing.

However, before we see it hit the target from this angle, the vision cuts to another shot of the arrow flying up and then down, perfectly into the board.

And the angle at which it lands in the target is that of one angling downward (indicating a more parabolic trajectory).

If that isn’t conclusive enough, have a look at which post she is shooting from (number 5)…

And which it lands on (number 1)…

… And even the small fact that number 1 is located next to a tree, rather than the flag (seen on the left hand side).

So even if my detailed analysis of the trajectory of the arrow is incorrect, why have they cut to another piece of footage?

But you be the judge; see the vision at the Amazing Race website here and jump to 44:28.

So as a result of her apparently hitting the target, they were able to get the clue soon after the models- and even However, even though we saw vision of both of them in taxis, there was no “overtake them!” screaming, leading me to believe that the models were much further ahead. Similarly, for two teams that were supposedly neck-and-neck, there was no footage of them at the end when the models approached the checkpoint mat.

My guess is, is that Alana did not land the last arrow, and were asked if they wanted to wait four hours and then proceed or concede defeat and wait until the models had registered their place before approaching the mat.

But even if I have made a mistake, it still raises the interesting question, does the amount of licence the director takes make it any less of an exciting race? Just because what you see on screen is not always entirely accurate, does it diminish the show’s credibility as a reality show?

Surely others have noticed examples of when teams seem to be down and out but suddenly find themselves back in the race? Or even when teams are trailing others by a long way, but suddenly find themselves neck-and-neck with them at the end (For example, the episode where Mos and Mo were eliminated)?

Even the editing is sometimes somewhat nauseating, for example when teams are waiting to be given a clue, or an envelope, and the vision cuts to a carefully placed hand drawing out an envelope, making it glaringly obvious not everything is filmed then and there.

For mine, it doesn’t make it any less entertaining, however, too much of it and more and more people will become aware of it, and for a show in its first season (in Australia), it can’t seem as if it is cheating viewers (remember the mild furore that emerged when it was revealed Masterchef contestants have their food re-plated?

And for the sake of a couple minutes more of perceived drama, is it all worth it?

What do you think? Am I right or just a conspiracy theorist? And have you noticed other possible reality warps?

“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?

Shows on Australian TV: Seven – X Factor gets a 2nd chance

Private Practice (US 4th Season *renewed for a 5th*, AU 4th Season)

My Kitchen Rules (Currently in SECOND SEASON) Renewed for a third on 02/03/2011.

The X Factor (ONE SEASON has aired) – Mediocre ratings for its first season, but it has still been renewed for a 2nd season (or third if you include the season that aired on Ten) on 14/03/2011. This year will presumably feature a more prominent youth focus.

Packed to the Rafters (Currently in FOURTH SEASON)

It has been ratings its socks off- well, as much as a show does these days. Here are its ratings from Week 5 onwards.

Monday: 1,461,000 (1st in Time slot, 1st for the night)

Home and Away (Currently in TWENTY-FOURTH SEASON)

Better Homes and Gardens (Currently in FOURTEENTH SEASON – SEVENTH in new format with Joanna Griggs in Friday 7:30pm slot)

Deal or No Deal – (Currently in NINTH SEASON)

Border Security – (Currently in SEVENTH SEASON)

Sunday Night- (Currently in THIRD SEASON) – It is a real asset for Seven, and if it can maintain good ratings, boosts its news credibility- even though it has been criticised in recent times.

Castle

Cougar Town – Seven (US 2nd season – hiatus -, AU 2nd season)

Desperate Housewives – Seven (US 7th season, AU 7th season)

Grey’s Anatomy – Seven (US 7th season, AU 7th season)

Kath and Kim (FOUR SEASONS have aired) – Technically waiting for the Gina Riley and Jane Turner to decide whether they want to do any more series, yet with constant rumours and no new projects on the horizon, I believe at least a “Final Season” is inevitable.

The Matty Johns Show (Currently in SECOND SEASON)

Minute to Win It (SECOND SEASON yet to air)

Dancing with the Stars (ELEVENTH SEASON yet to air) – There’s only so much life in this show, and is the last remnant of the singing/dancing competition obsession of the 2000s.

Australia’s Got Talent (FOURTH SEASON yet to air) – Just a matter of waiting until the “talent” pool dries up, à la Australian Idol 2009.

The Amazing Race Australia (FIRST SEASON yet to air) – If it can generate enough buzz, Seven will have a juggernaut on its hands.

Brothers and Sisters

Thank God You’re Here (FOUR SEASONS have aired)- Unlikely that Working Dog would film a fifth season, as there are not many more avenues to explore in creative terms.

Iron Chef Australia (ONE SEASON has aired) – Average ratings coupled with a different tone and pace might make Seven think twice about renewing it. It also operated around a central gimmick of being based on the original Iron Chef- something that Masterchef purposely steered away from- and for good reason.

Winners and Losers (FIRST SEASON yet to air) – I know that you shouldn’t judge a show’s prospects before you know the figures it will pull, but I just don’t have a good feeling about this. It’s a big ask from Seven to make Australia fall in love with another group of people (in addition to the Rafters, of course), and while they couldn’t adopt the same tone, their decision to opt for a more quirky and humorous tone doesn’t bode well. Australians don’t tend to go for quirky over real emotion too readily, as was demonstrated with Offspring’s first few episodes. It also isn’t based around cops or doctors, and there almost certainly won’t be any gratuitous nudity, so it will be really swimming against the tide.

(Nearly) CANCELLED

City Homicide* (Currently in FOURTH SEASON, a miniseries to come)

*No official word on cancellation, but unless the miniseries rates spectacularly, and Winners and Losers is a dismal failure, it is as good as cancelled.