Here one day, gone the next
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.