SUR­PRISE TV STAR

WHICH HIT SHOW NEARLY GOT THE AXE?

Herald Sun - Switched On - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN VICK­ERY TV WRITER HYBPA?, CHAN­NEL 10, MON­DAY, 8.30PM

Have You Been Pay­ing At­ten­tion? has gone from zero to hero. Two years ago, the Work­ing Dog-pro­duced com­edy panel show looked des­tined for the scrap heap. Now it is one of Chan­nel 10’s most con­sis­tent per­form­ers.

That suc­cess has come af­ter mul­ti­ple times­lot changes and a ma­jor struc­tural re­vamp.

Chan­nel 10 put HYBPA? into the 7pm Sun­day fam­ily slot in Novem­ber 2013, and it stiffed.

The first episode of the Tom Gleis­ner-hosted show av­er­aged 301,000 view­ers na­tion­ally. By episode eight, it had been moved to 6pm and scored a dis­mal 235,000. Co­me­di­ans Ed Kavalee and Sam Pang were reg­u­lar pan­el­lists with guests in­clud­ing Jane Kennedy, Mick Mol­loy and Glenn Rob­bins.

The pro­gram came back in Fe­bru­ary 2014 and did even worse (168,000).

Crit­ics said it was time for Ten to swing the axe. In­stead, it was time for a re­think.

“We could see early on that the show had po­ten­tial, that the peo­ple who watched it like it, but there just wasn’t enough of them,” Ten pro­gram chief Bev­er­ley McGar­vey says.

When HYBPA? re­turned in May 2014 it had dou­bled in length and been pro­grammed in the Mon­day 9.30pm times­lot.

“We had mis­cal­cu­lated,” Gleis­ner says. “Very quickly we came to re­alise that the show was be­ing stran­gled by hav­ing to be re­duced to half an hour.

“Some truly funny ma­te­rial was be­ing chopped out for the sake of the (early evening fam­ily) times­lot). The show needed to be longer to be al­lowed to breathe and to be a lit­tle bit more adult.”

Slowly but surely the move to 9.30pm bore fruit. In July 2014, Ten switched it to 8.30pm and that proved to be the game changer. By Septem­ber it was top­ping 500,000 view­ers.

That rat­ings growth has con­tin­ued in 2015. The pro­gram topped 700,000 fol­low­ing MasterChef Aus­tralia. Fri­day night re­peats can bring that fig­ure to near one mil­lion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.