The real rea­son Rove’s show failed this time

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER - DUN­CAN LAY TWIT­TER @DUNCANLAY

Tele­vi­sion va­ri­ety shows aren’t dead, de­spite the best efforts of Rove Mc­Manus to kill them.

His Satur­day Night Rove was canned by Chan­nel 10 af­ter just two episodes, lead­ing to claims that no­body wants to watch va­ri­ety tele­vi­sion, or in­deed any net­work tele­vi­sion, on a Satur­day night.

That’s not true. We just don’t want to watch a latenight show in a fam­ily-friendly times­lot.

His rat­ings plum­meted from a measly 244,000 to a woe­ful 138,000, leav­ing Ten with no op­tion but to pull the plug, de­spite the net­work’s best efforts to make it seem like peo­ple were en­joy­ing

the show by “edit­ing” tweets about it.

“Rove, it’s fan­tas­tic to have you back but you need to listen to your loyal fans and change the for­mat please” was al­tered to: “ROVE! fan­tas­tic to have you back!!”

You know they are work­ing too hard when they throw in two ex­cla­ma­tion marks. I al­ways sus­pect peo­ple who use too many ex­cla­ma­tion marks. It’s usu­ally the mark of a se­rial killer or, worse, some­one who works in pub­lic re­la­tions.

Any­way, it seems that fam­i­lies look­ing for some­thing to do together on a Satur­day night aren’t look­ing for a bunch of crude sex­ual in­nu­endo and guests with the en­ter­tain­ment calibre of Kevin Rudd play­ing hand­ball. Who knew?

Yes, it seems that what amuses the skivvie-wear­ing crowd at a Mel­bourne hip­ster bar doesn’t cut it in the lounge­rooms of mid­dle Aus­tralia.

Satur­day nights are hel­lish for two groups of peo­ple — em­ploy­ees of a Sun­day news­pa­per and fam­i­lies with children aged be­tween six and 12.

No­body cares s about the first group, which is a smaller num­ber r than even Rove’s rat­ings, but there are stacks of the sec­ond group.

The par­ents can’t go out un­less they fork out for a babysitter and the kids can’t go out be­cause they’re still at least six years off the le­gal drinking age.

So they’re both stuck at home look­ing for some­thing to watch together. It’s why Hey Hey It’s Satur­day was such a hit for so long.

Re­mem­ber that? A mix of com­edy and en­ter­tain­ment — I use the word “com­edy” ad­vis­edly ad­vis in some cases cas — that had some­thing so for ev­ery­one. e And Molly Mel­drum.

Some­how I e ended up go­ing to se see one of the rare Sy Syd­ney episodes at Chan Chan­nel 9’s Wil­loughby stu­dios back in around 1996. It was a sim­pler time, when a sex­u­ally frus­trated man dressed as a duck and a black wig im­paled on a stick were se­ri­ous comedic de­vices.

And the words of Molly Mel­drum were treated se­ri­ously, in­stead of sug­gest­ing there was a need for se­ri­ous treat­ment.

But it struck a chord with fam­i­lies. No par­ent re­ally wants to watch Frozen for the 27th time (or even the sec­ond) and no child is re­ally in­ter­ested in a po­lice pro­ce­dural.

There needs to be a mid­dle ground, where both can be slightly en­ter­tained and at least pre­tend they en­joyed some qual­ity fam­ily time.

That’s what Hey Hey pro­vided and that’s what Rove failed to do.

There’s still room for a Satur­day night fam­ily show. But, next time, when you’re thinking skivvies, it needs to be more Wiggles and less Mel­bourne hip­ster.

Rove cracks him­self up on Satur­day Night Rove.

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