“Jeremy Clarkson and James May take a trip to the seaside in electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and the Peugeot iOn. Jeremy Clarkson also drives the new F1 style Lotus and Richard Hammond spends the day with a rally team, the members are all ex-military amputees.”
The special guest will be Simon Cowell, quite astoundingly making his third appearance on the popular motoring show (his first in series 3, and his next in series 10).
This will be the second last episode for the series.
Australian Top Gear fans can rest easy- the show’s seventeenth season, which began just over two weeks ago in the UK, will finally have an airdate in Australia.
Today Nine have begun airing their “The best is still to come” promos, which feature a montage of the second half of the year’s shows, including Underbelly: Razor, Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year, Top Design and Bear Gryll’s Worst Case Scenario.
There is also a mention of new Top Gear, though, which tells us it isn’t far away.
It won’t be seen for the next two weeks but my tip is TUESDAY JULY 19 at 8:30, given Sea Patrol has its final ever episode airing the week before at July 12, it will leave a hole in the schedule.
The other possibility is Thursday July 21, given its human body series has its finale the previous week, however Nine seems set on airing docos in that slot.
Season Seventeen episode one features a tribute to the E-type Jag, among other things. It is one of six episodes for the season.
From TVRage, we have the latest synopsis for the seventeenth season of Top Gear. Quite significantly, Rowan Atkinson will be making his first appearance on the show (presumably he will be promoting his latest flick Johnny English Reborn).
“The presenters manage to finally find a good use for caravans after they try to make train travel cost less, faster and more interesting. Rowan Atkinson is the celebrity behind the wheel of the Reasonably Priced Car this week. Jeremy gets the chance to test drive the Jaguar XKR-S and the updated Nissan GT-R to compare the two cars.”
After Episode 1 of Season 17 featured Alice Cooper in the “Reasonably Priced Car”, as well as a tribute to the Jaguar E-Type and reviews of the Marauder, BMW 1 Series M Coupe and Mini John Cooper Works WRC, the hijinks for episodes 2 and 3 have been revealed.
Episode 2 will be an Italy special of sorts, with the gang travelling to Italy. Jeremy Clarkson will be in the Citroen DS3 Racing, Richard Hammond will be in the Fiat 500C Abarth and James May will be in the Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup. According to the summary, “they navigate their way round baffling Italian towns and take part in a scavenger hunt.” Ross Noble will be in the “Reasonably Priced Car”
Episode 3 will feature Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond finding second-hand bargains for the price of Britain’s cheapest brand new car, the Nissan Pixo. James May will test the Range Rover Evoque and chauffeur a megastar through Las Vegas. Other cars to be reviewed are the McLaren MP4-12C, and its rival Ferrari 458. Sebastian Vettel will be the special guest.
Channel Nine is still yet to announce an Australian airdate.
Channel Nine is currently undergoing a resurgence of sorts, after a very lacklustre start to the year.
After heavily promoting the fourth series of The Block in its new 7PM timeslot, it has proven a decent new alternative in its first week on air.
Of course, its strong first week figures will be slightly inflated due to the massive publicity push, but it has arguably begun to turn around Nine’s fortunes.
And let’s face it, any old show that can pull half-decent figures for Nine (we’re talking over a million) will be more than welcome on its schedule, as its first half of the year has certainly been one to forget for the network.
After starting the year touting itself as the “Home of Comedy” it put forth its first offering in the form of Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth. And we all know how that one ended:
Low ratings combined with the worst critical reception to a show in recent memory made for a genuine, out-and-out stinker of a show.
Faced with failure, Nine felt it had no choice but to flog the hell out of its imports in Two and a Half Men and Top Gear, two programs that had done very well for the network in 2010.
However, repeating these “hit shows” ad nauseam led to viewer fatigue, and pretty soon they began turning off in droves.
Today, Top Gear is nowhere to be seen on Nine’s main channel, with Two and a Half Men pushed late into the night. You can find it now at 10:30PM on a Tuesday night.
Continue reading after the jump…
Right now, Channel Nine is currently in the middle of a full frontal military assault.
It’s called Operation Big Bang.
It involves bombarding viewers with as many Big Bang Theory episodes as possible.
And why? You may ask, surely too much of a good thing is, well, too much… But that isn’t the same way programming execs think.
Especially ones at Channel Nine.
You see, Nine are a desperate network. A network desperate to reclaim their number one title off Seven. They don’t have a massive stable of popular shows like Seven do. Seven have their Border Security type shows, which always pull decent ratings, they have a dominant news element- Today Tonight and Sunrise almost always beat their Channel Nine counterparts nationally; they have a hit Australian drama in Packed to the Rafters, and a promising show in Winners and Losers, they also have solid year-round staple shows such as Better Homes and Gardens.
In comparison, Nine has Underbelly, and the closest things it has to a staple show are 60 Minutes (which is usually trounced whenever a show like Dancing With the Star or MasterChef is up against it) and Australia’s Funniest Home Videos (which is given a good run for its money in Melbourne when it is up against Before the Game).
Yes, Nine is struggling, still. So, you might say, who could blame it for scheduling excessive amounts of hit shows? I’m certainly not, but if they want to extract any sort of longevity out of their popular shows, they need to adopt a different method.
And its not as of they haven’t had the chance to learn from their mistakes;
Year of the Ramsay
Back before MasterChef became popular in Australia, there was one AngryChef that took Australia by storm. His name was Gordon Ramsay. In 2008, after Nine had been scheduling episodes of his “Kitchen Nightmares” UK series without much fanfare, it noticed that it was receiving a bit of attention. Before long, it was receiving pretty good ratings, and also had half of Australian radio talk about it.
Nine, sniffing some ratings blood in the water, went in for the kill, and before long had scheduled three hour long Ramsay episodes a week. And luckily for Nine, there was plenty of Ramsay in the tank (he was, by that time, very successful in the UK). Every week from then on, viewers received, from Tuesday to Thursday, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and The F Word. Of the three, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares remained the most popular. At one stage, he was even interviewed on 60 Minutes.
However, after many weeks of F-bombs, abusive rants and a bit of trouble with ACMA (which may or may not have been related) viewers grew tired of the foul language… Or just Ramsay’s whole “act”, and began switching off.
Eventually, Ramsay was removed from the schedule altogether (though there is the occasional Nightmare on Tuesday nights, possibly in the hope that Ramsay-fever ignites again?).
And as all shows like this follow a pattern, the death knell finally sounded after Gordon Ramsay appeared on A Current Affair in 2009 and was interviewed by Tracey Grimshaw. He subsequently likened her to a pig at a cooking demonstration. He then received a barrage of criticism, which only served to expose him as a bully (for the few who hadn’t realised it yet).
Two and a Half Thousand Men
Channel Nine had acquired Two and a Half Men many years ago, however it was not until 2009 that it started airing episodes by the dozen- well, ten episodes a week. This included the Monday-Friday 7PM slot, where it really gave Home and Away a scare after its 2008 dominance; new episodes in various timeslots; “Adults Only” episodes and repeats aplenty on GO!. However in the latter half of 2010, ratings began to wane, for no particular reason. Well, no reason apparent to Nine execs. It was simply because viewers were sick of it.
Then came 2011. The year of Charlie Sheen, for all the wrong reasons. Without wanting to go into all of the detail (You can go to any other site right now and read about it – ANY other site).
It may have been a combination of Nine’s oversaturation with the world covering Sheen’s “antics” mercilessly that led to it’s demise, but it was a long time coming.
The prophecy once again was fulfilled, with the death knell being Sheen getting the chop from the sitcom.
Nine bizarrely attempted to revive the flagging show’s ratings by advertising the show by playing up how insane Sheen apparently is. They have recently advertised a new episode as being possibly Sheen’s last ever episode (it was the last one filmed before the meltdown and insults thrown at the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre). They were signs of a desperate network, on the brink of losing a former powerhouse.
And the proof that it is dead (or close to it) is no more evident than the fact that its position in the primetime-heading 7PM slot has been stripped from it, to be replaced by The Big Bang Theory.
Top Gear used to be cool. It used to be a little show on SBS that only a few people seemed to know about (even though it was attracting upwards of 600k viewers regularly).
Which was why Nine was so bloody happy with themselves after yanking Top Gear off SBS in 2010, that they decided to play it to death.
And why wouldn’t they, with early figures for Top Gear attracting very healthy figures. However, they started plugging holes all over the schedule with repeat after repeat- initially to great success. At its peak, Nine was airing 1 episode on Sunday on GO!, 1 episode on Tuesday on Nine, 1 on Thursday on GO! and another on Fridays on Nine.
But now, in 2011, somewhat amusingly, now that they finally have been able to show new episodes, absolutely no one has been interested (no one in TV terms = around 600k).
The death knell hasn’t sounded as yet, but it’s coming.
Basically, the lesson is, Nine, don’t make the same mistake with The Big Bang Theory, a show which still has the respect of viewers.
However, Operation BB is already well underway, so brace yourselves.
Generating interest mainly because Andrew Denton’s production company Zapruder’s Other Films is putting it together.
Australian Film Institute Awards
In Their Footsteps
Panic At Rock Island
It has already aired in New Zealand, and hasn’t drawn the best of reviews.
The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show
US show on cable network Showtime starring Matt le Blanc. Was recently renewed for a SECOND SEASON.
Australia’s Funniest Home Videos
A mainstay on Channel Nine for many years, with it having found its home on Saturday nights. Now in its 21st season, with its fourth hosted by Shelley Craft.
The Farmer Wants a Wife
Ratings haven’t been spectacular, but it should receive a seventh season, given Nine’s lack of a huge amount of hit shows.
Week 1: 891,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Week 2: 887,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Week 3: 786,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Week 4: 925,000 (2nd in timeslot)
On the 5th of March, it was renewed for a seventh season.
The Footy Show AFL
Maintains quite strong ratings in its city of Melbourne, however, this is largely dependent on whether Sam Newman remains part of the show.
The Footy Show NRL
Millionaire Hot Seat
Crime Investigation Australia
Royal Prince Alfred
This Is Your Life
The third season in 2010 was a modest success, but it would need to at least match those ratings to guarantee it a fourth under new host Scott Cam.
Top Gear Australia
Rescue: Special Ops
This is Your Life
Though it debuted well with its latest incarnation helmer by Eddie McGuire, you can’t take too much out of its first performance. Nevertheless, it remains “Looking Good”. However, it is almost certain to drop, as you have to factor in the Jackman-factor- as it’s known in the industry- for Week 1.
Week 1: 1,043,000 (2nd in timeslot) [LOOKING GOOD]
Week 2: 774,000 [50/50]
Not quite in the Danger zone, but it has a one-way ticket there at the moment. It needs a big-name celebrity to jump-start it.
Week 3: 796,000
No sign of future episodes.
Hey Hey It’s Saturday
Average ratings, high cost… sounds like a recipe for disaster. Almost like a similar situation which arose just over 10 years ago.
Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth
Sea Patrol (Final season to come in 2011)