Australian Idol blinks, and moves time slots

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From this Sunday night Australian Idol will return to its traditional home of 7:30pm.

After weeks of low ratings, the reality show has given up the fight and resuming its later start time where it will run for two hours.

The move pushes Rove back to 9:30pm on the night of his 10th Anniversary show.

On Sunday night the show took 990,000 viewers across its two hours. The week before was 883,000. Even without Dancing with the Stars it couldn't pass the one million mark considered a minimum for a show of this scale on a big night like Sunday.

TEN has defended that its younger audience is later in coming to their television sets at 6:30pm -- a problem which was about to be exacerbated by Daylight Saving in some states from October 4th.

TEN's head of Programming, Beverley McGarvey says of this change, "In television we have the benefit of daily feedback on what audiences want, and it's clear by the data that the earlier time slot wasn't working for Idol, the switch on at 7:30pm was quite distinct."

"We gave the time slot change a good go but in this business, you can make a quick change to get back on track and that's what we're doing here ... the audience spoke and we listened."

But some viewers argue it isn't the time slot that is the problem, but the talent, and losing Kyle Sandilands as a judge. New judge Jay Dee Springbett is yet to prove his mettle as a contender alongside Dicko and Marcia Hines. It's a tough gig with short notice.

Other changes this year have seen the loss of co-host James Mathison, the axing of the Monday night verdict show and even a new musical director after John Foreman departed.

TEN will prop up Idol with repeats of Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation at 6:30pm, and Sports Tonight returns to 5:30pm with The Simpsons at 6pm. New episodes of Don't Forget the Lyrics are now out.

The changes also knock Little Britain USA and Nurse Jackie from Sundays to 10pm/10:35pm Monday September 28, as part of a new comedy night following Good News Week.

That means plans for a fast-tracked season of Supernatural are now out too.

If Idol doesn't lift its figures in its traditional 7:30pm time slot, TEN will have to take a long hard look at its plans for 2010. The last time it faced such a big question was over Big Brother. And we all got MasterChef Australia as a result.

Why do you think Idol is losing ratings? Comment below or discuss Idol's demise in the forum now!

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