Nine rejects swirling Footy Show rumour
CHANNEL NINE has reportedly denied The Footy Show will be sacked before Thursday night's scheduled screening.
The Herald Sun reported first on Tuesday morning there are rumours swirling in Melbourne that the iconic football panel show has been marked for termination following its catastrophic ratings plummet, highlighted by last week's worst ever ratings result in Melbourne.
The report claims last week's Footy Show ratings were so alarming that there have been calls for the team from The Sunday Footy Show, fronted by Tony Jones, to replace the new-look team of Neroli Meadows, Anthony "Lehmo" Lehmann, Dylan Alcott and Brendan Fevola.
Despite being beaten up by Channel 7 rival The Front Bar last week, Nine has insisted The Footy Show will be given another chance in its scheduled timeslot of 8.30pm (AEST) on Thursday night.
However, the program's future beyond this week remains up in the air after just 53,000 Melburnians tuned in to watch the revamped panel last week - the lowest number in the show's history.
The iconic program underwent a drastic facelift for 2019 as Eddie McGuire and Sam Newman left and comedian Anthony "Lehmo" Lehmann and journalist and TV presenter Neroli Meadows took over hosting duties.
The bold revamp was designed to re-energise a tired format and give it a much-needed boost in the face of stiff competition from The Front Bar, but so far the change-up hasn't paid off.
In late March one episode garnered just 96,000 viewers in Melbourne, which at the time was its lowest ever number. But those figures look positively enormous in comparison to last night's show.
The Front Bar had 278,000 viewers in Melbourne last week as it scored another big win over its network rival.
Nationally, The Front Bar had 427,000 viewers (five-city metro) and The Footy Show had 97,000, leading TV Tonight editor David Knox to say the Channel 7 offering "absolutely slaughtered" Nine.
Although the results are worrying, short-time former Footy Show host Craig Hutchison says Channel 9 should ignore how badly its getting smashed in the ratings while attempting to build a new audience for its long-running AFL show.
Hutchison, whose tenure lasted less than one season in 2017 when he was replaced by McGuire after a ratings slump, was asked about the path forward by former Footy Show panel member and journalist Damian Barrett on their podcast The Sounding Board last week.
"I want to ask you Hutchy as a media proprietor, do you change the (time) slot again, do you change the name, do you actually go against what the network has agreed to do and change the name? Do you just give it one more go, or do you just let it go?" Barrett asked.
Hutchison replied: "If I were Channel 9, and I think the same applies to The Today Show, it's just impractical to think they can win in their first year. It's not possible, behaviour is built over time.
"I would be spending all my time thinking about the quality of the show, as opposed to its impact. Whether it loses by 200 or 180 or 170 (thousand) it's not really going to matter at the moment versus do we think it can get to a point where it can win?
"It's like the Swans at the minute. It's a rebuild of a great brand. I haven't seen enough of the show because I've been travelling, but people say it's really good."