Here one day, gone the next

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - DAR­REN DEVLYN

THREE weeks is a long time in tele­vi­sion. Less than a month ago, Chan­nel 9 launched news/chat show THIS Af­ter­noon on a wave of hype about how it was go­ing to help re­store the net­work’s sta­tus as No. 1 in news.

Last Wed­nes­day, it was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously axed.

The show was trou­ble-plagued from the start.

Co-hosts An­drew Daddo and Ka­t­rina Blow­ers seemed awk­ward on THIS Af­ter­noon’s cheap­look­ing set and strug­gled for the chem­istry nec­es­sary to make the show work.

Then Nine en­dured the em­bar­rass­ment of the show’s newsreader, Mark Fer­gu­son, an­nounc­ing he was quit­ting the net­work at the end of the year to take up a po­si­tion with Chan­nel 7.

Nine’s di­rec­tor of news Mark Calvert says of THIS Af­ter­noon: ‘‘While this is re­gret­table, our at­ti­tude is that it’s bet­ter to have given it a shot.

‘‘In the short time it was on air the team worked hard, but the pro­gram was strug­gling to at­tract a size­able au­di­ence. It’s vi­tal that we recog­nise this and act swiftly.

‘‘It’s a long road. I don’t un­der­es­ti­mate how tough it’s go­ing to be. For too long we’ve been looking over our shoul­der at what Seven, in par­tic­u­lar, are do­ing.’’

Nine’s re­vamped early-evening sched­ule had been de­signed to boost lead-in rat­ings for the net­work’s 6pm news bul­letin.

Though Ed­die McGuire’s Mil­lion­aire Hot Seat helped Nine in this re­gard, THIS Af­ter­noon did not. On de­but, THIS Af­ter­noon reached a na­tional au­di­ence of 321,000.

Ten’s 4.30pm The Bold and the Beau­ti­ful had 543,000 view­ers and its 5pm news 1.1 mil­lion. Seven’s 4.30pm news had 430,000. For THIS Af­ter­noon, the bat­tle was all down­hill from there.

The ax­ing of THIS Af­ter­noon is a huge dis­ap­point­ment for Daddo, who had aban­doned his evening ra­dio shift on ABC NSW for the more lu­cra­tive job at Nine.

‘‘ THIS Af­ter­noon was the only thing I could think of that would be bet­ter be­cause it’s live, I still talk to peo­ple and I’m home for din­ner. I thought you’d have to be a dreamer not to be in­ter­ested,’’ Daddo had said.

They’re off: (from left) An­drew Daddo, Ka­t­rina Blow­ers and Mark Fer­gu­son worked hard.

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